Even though more and more people are educated and aware of the benefits of recycling, many recycling centers are closing in the state of California. What should be done about this…or what can be done?
A Look At The Stats
In the last 3 years over 800 recycling centers have closed their doors; leaving customers looking for alternatives or possibly not.
The recycling rate of beverage containers in California fell below 80 percent, which hasn’t happened since 2008. Other types of recyclable materials also decreased drastically, leading to speculation as to a cause for such a decrease.
It has become less expensive to create new products and therefore the use of recycled beverage containers decreased. That combined with more waste being produced overall and recycling incentives decreasing has led to these decreases in rates of recycling.
A stark picture of the results of this can be seen when looking at one company, rePlanet, they closed 191 recycling centers and laid off 278 employees in California just last year. Recycling advocates want more government subsidy programs to help these recycling centers out of these difficult times.
Rural Areas Impacted
Many Californians have lost their local recycling center, especially in rural areas as businesses tend to close those first and are keeping centers open in bigger cities. This also hurts those in low income areas who may not have the means to travel to a recycling facility not within walking distance.
The Politics of Recycling
Getting caught up in bureaucracy is frustrating considering some believe that fixing the issue might not even cost the state more money. Recycling centers are in need of about $50 million to stay open, and CalRecycle currently has $250 million in surplus money, but the funds are not approved for the purpose. The system will continue to collapse unless swift action is taken. And the customers and the environment at large will pay the ultimate price along with the recycling companies and their employees.
A lot needs to be done to try and fix the issues modern recycling centers face, but it may have to get some major help from Governor Jerry Brown. There have been some efforts made by Senators, but nothing has gained traction thus far. Hopefully with increased awareness there will be more action taken and soon.