Calif. beverage can recyclers face negative margins

Oct 21, 2009 | 07:18 AM | Paul Schaffer

As California's budget crisis undercuts the state's beverage container deposit program, commercial participants face an all-or-nothing choice.

They can absorb the negative profit margins on glass and scrap plastics as the price of providing 5-cent refunds for people returning aluminum cans, or they can quit the program and pay customers for the aluminum value alone—slightly above 1 cent per can at the scale.

Since stores collected a nickel deposit when the beverage was purchased, that penny isn't attractive to most soda and beer consumers. Larger containers, generally plastic, carry a 10-cent deposit.

"We can't pay a recycler (refund money) for the aluminum if they stop taking glass and plastic," Jason Marshall, acting chief of the California Department of Conservation's division of recycling, said in a conference call.....

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