California’s Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery, also known as CalRecycle, aims to give Californians an extra $100 million in bonus recycling credits through a proposed new plan. The new plan will give Californians recycling bonus credits and make recycling more accessible.
That includes a direct $155 million to expand mobile recycling and reverse vending machine locations for consumers to cash in bottles and cans. The program says they saw an increase in California residents' recycling during the pandemic as more people consumed beverages at home.
“More people coming in because they would stay at home, and they were cleaning their houses. It was a big change we weren’t expecting that," said Edgar Arroyo, owner of AGS Recycling Inc.
While there are recycling centers in San Luis Obispo County, some cities within the area don’t have a center nearby. That is something AGS Recycling center in Arroyo Grande sees with its customers.
“I get people from San Luis Obispo and they have to drive half an hour," said Arroyo.
“More centers would be better obviously for the environment and just more easy access. If we had more access as far as more recycling centers then maybe more people would do it," said Santa Maria resident Jack Armstrong.
Arroyo Grande resident, Berni Wilkinson has been recycling for five years now with her husband.
“We usually bring 700, to 900, to 1,00 pounds of glass every time we come in," said Wilkinson.
Like Wilkinson, for many local residents recycling offers an opportunity for extra cash.
“I started recycling like I said when I was a little kid to try to buy candies and BB guns and just kept it up. It’s a little extra cash and it helps especially with gas prices," said Armstrong.
CalRecycle says maximizing the reuse and recycling of all materials sold in California can help the state meet its climate goals. The legislature will have the opportunity over the next few months to review this proposal and collaborate with the administration during the ongoing budget enactment process.