Hundreds of California recycling centers close – what now?

Blue bins piled high with gleaming cans and pink plastic bags bulging with plastic jugs snaked up to the recycling center outside a Foods Co. on a recent Wednesday morning, with customers lined up to cash in their containers.
A homeless man named Aaron Viramontes said he stops by two to three times a week in search of cash. Another customer who arrived in a minivan loaded with boxes full of bottles said he always brings his empties to the center – “I paid for it in the store,” he noted, “so I should get my money back.”
But completing that transaction could get tougher. The company that runs the facility, RePlanet, has already closed scores of California locations amid a financial crunch that has gotten the attention of policymakers in Sacramento. Nearby centers had already stopped accepting items, and some customers had noticed.
“The question is, where would we recycle” if the closures continue? said John Viernes, a 29-year-old physical therapist who said he got into the habit of bringing his cans and bottles to recycling centers in Hawaii, where “the soil is sacred.” “It would be tough.”
The shuttering of hundreds of recycling centers around California has reduced opportunities to cash in bottles and cans while stirring anxiety for grocery store owners who may be forced to start accepting reusable materials themselves. As interest groups press policymakers for a solution, the situation has again illuminated the ongoing challenges facing California’s labyrinthine recycling system.
“This is a crisis for consumers who aren’t going to be able to get their money back on the containers they’ve purchased,” said Californians Against Waste executive director Mark Murray, “it’s a crisis of the stores who aren’t fond of taking containers back inside the store, and it’s a crisis for recycling centers who want to be in the business of taking back containers but can’t make it work in this financial market.”
Read more at: Hundreds of California recycling centers close – what now? | The Sacramento Bee