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November 10, 2009

San Diego Reader

Canners' Crisis

Last Tuesday morning, November 3, 11 people were in line at the RB Recycling center behind the Rite Aid off Sunset Cliffs Boulevard. Seven of the people were either homeless or didn't have any transportation.

In December, many "canners" (those who seek out recyclables in alleys and trash bins) and other local residents will have to find another recycling center, as Regan Recycling will be closing for good.

On October 12, 2009, Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed bill SB 402, which had passed both the Senate and Assembly with a 60 percent majority. Senator Lois Wolk authored SB 402 with the intent of balancing the Bottle Bill, as it contained provisions that would have generated additional money.

When one pays the California Redemption Value (CRV) on canned or bottled beverages, that money goes into a fund called the Bottle Bill. Money for each can and bottle sold by beverage distributors is also deposited into the Bottle Bill.

Besides buying and reselling collected recyclables, recycling centers are paid a handling fee by the state in order to cover the costs of doing business. The recyclers’ handling fee is funded by the Bottle Bill.

In order to help cover the state deficit, the governor last month granted the transfer of more than $250 million, in the form of loans, from the Bottle Bill to the General Fund.

On July 1, the Bottle Bill was void of funds. June is the last month that recycling centers were paid by the state. Regan Recycling, as well as many others, will be forced to shut their doors due to non-payment from the state.

Local homeless resident George (nickname G1) said that the closing of RB Recycling means that many people are going to lose income if they cannot get to the next nearest recycling center, which is close to three miles away. Without a vehicle or a bicycle, that is too far for people to walk with multiple bags filled with recyclables.


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