Emergency Recycling Fix by Ting Signed by the Governor

Saturday, October 12, 2019

New law is in response to the recent shut down of rePlanet recycling centers

Sacramento, CA – Help is on the way for areas in the state that no longer have California Redemption Value (CRV) recycling centers. Governor Newsom today signed AB 54 by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), which allocates $5 million to implement a mobile recycling pilot program administered by CalRecycle. The urgency measure takes effect immediately.

“AB 54 provides short-term relief to the thousands of Californians who need their container deposits refunded. Now the hard work begins. I will spend the next few months working on a more comprehensive solution that can start moving through the legislative process when we reconvene in January,” said Ting. “We can’t put off this reform any longer now that recycling programs are in a crisis.”

Ting’s bill is necessary after rePlanet shuttered its remaining 284 California recycling centers in August. AB 54 aims to relieve the long lines at remaining redemption sites and fill the void in areas that no longer have any. rePlanet was once California’s largest recycling company, operating about 20% of the redemption centers in the state. But a significant decrease in the scrap value of aluminum and recycled plastics has hampered their ability to stay open - even after the firm closed 191 centers in 2016 to cut costs. Exacerbating this problem are international market conditions, as countries around the world, most notably China, have imposed stricter standards on the types of waste materials they will purchase.

Under the mobile pilot program, local governments, non-profits and others can apply for one of five grants to expand recycling opportunities in areas severely impacted by the rePlanet closures. At least one pilot location must be in a rural area, and the roving redemption centers must be open at least eight hours during the weekend when demand for services is high. AB 54 also temporarily suspends, through March 2020, the fines assessed on grocers required to take back beverage containers in-store when there are no recycling centers nearby, as they are not prepared to assume the responsibility of providing redemption services.

In addition to AB 54, the 2019-20 state budget previously included another $5 million to help more than 400 low-volume recycling centers stay open.

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