California Recycling Fraud


As we all know the State of California is a large proponent of recycling.  California passed the California Redemption Value (CRV), which makes plastic bottles and aluminum cans cost a little more than other states.  However, once the containers are returned to a California Certified Recycling Center, the consumers are reimbursed for the extra charge, as an incentive for residents to recycle. Under the CRV, California pays 5 cents for containers smaller than 24 ounces, and 10 cents for containers larger than 24 ounces.

California’s neighboring state of Nevada does not have a program like the CRV, and therefore does not pay anywhere near the California prices for recyclable materials. This also means they are not charging customers more for the original purchase.  Nevada’s recycling prices depend on the recycling center but we found that in Nevada, the best rate per pound for aluminum is $0.50, and $0.25 per pound of plastic.  

Due to this substantial difference, California is seeing more and more Nevada residents recycling in the State of California.  Now you may wonder why this is a problem, recycling is recycling right? Well California calls it stealing and believes that $30 to $50 million of their $900 million annual recycling pay out is from non-California residents.  Meaning that California is eating that payout, because Nevada residents, as well as other surrounding state residents, are not paying the extra charge for the container under the CRV that allows the CRV reimbursement for California residents.

Now, that is a problem.  Especially for the 5 people caught and facing felony charges based on conspiracy, grand theft, and recycling fraud.  California is aggressively working towards ending recycling fraud.  They are working with the Justice Department, and local and state agencies to halt recycling fraud criminals and punish them to the fullest extent of law.


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