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California, the state best known for sunshine and environmentally friendly citizens has had recycling rates for beverage containers dropping to an all-time low. Because of changes in California’s recycling program beverage container rates have dropped below 80 percent. According to the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery, in 2013, 85 percent of beverage containers were recycled, but in 2016 only 79.6 were recycled.
The value of plastic, glass
Not only are residents taking a hit, but so are grocery stores. California law now states that grocery stores must have a recycling center within half-mile radius from the story. If not, stores must redeem the containers in store or pay a daily fine ($100 per day). This daily fine can add up to $2 million this year alone. With many of these recycling centers closing, grocery stores are choosing to pay daily fines instead.
Another concern is the amount of waste and litter that is put into California landfills every day. Closing down recycling centers means more additional littered containers, around 3.5 million. Increasing landfill usage means additional use of oil, greenhouse gas emissions, and carbon dioxide.
Recycling centers shutting down has a snowball effect for the increasing damage it does for the environment. Fewer options for residents to recycle means less cash in their pocket and more toxicity in the environment. California must revamp the program in some way to keep recycling centers alive.