Yesterday in a press release, CalRecycle and the Department of Justice announced the arrest of five people following an investigation into out-of-state beverage container recycling fraud. Those arrested are accused of defrauding the California Beverage Container Recycling Fund of more than $300,000 by redeeming beverage containers from Nevada. The resulting arrests led to more than 5 tons of beverage containers being seized.
Five individuals are suspected of working together to purchase large amounts of aluminum and plastic containers from Nevada recycling centers. They then took the containers to mini-storage units, where they were sorted, crushed and re-bagged. On multiple occaisions the group rented 26-foot box trucks to transport the out-of-state containers to the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valley areas, where they were redeemed for the California Redemption Value (CRV).
The suspects attempted to bypass detection by driving circuitous routes to the redemption centers in order to avoid California Highway Patrol (CHP) inspection stations and California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) inspection stations.
"Defrauding the recycling fund is stealing from the state of California and its citizens, and we are taking aggressive steps to thwart those who would attempt it," said CalRecycle Director Caroll Mortensen. "We take fraud very seriously and work side by side with the DOJ and other state and local agencies to catch these criminals and punish them to the fullest extent of the law."
CAW supports CalRecyle's continued to work to protect the integrity of California's Bottle Bill, which is one of the nation's oldest and most successful beverage container recycling programs.
Regulations are also being developed to support a new state law (AB 1933 Gordon), which was sponsored by Californians Against Waste and requires importers of out-of-state containers to enter California through CDFA agricultural inspection stations, provide personal identification at the station, and specify where they are taking the containers.