June 14, 2019…

Consumer and recycling advocates held a press conference in front of the Santa Monica Community Recycling Center on Wednesday to protest its closure tomorrow.

The closure of the facility in the US state of California comes after the local council could not agree a deal with its operator, meaning that separation of Santa Monica’s recyclable materials will now occur off-site.

40 per cent of the recycling centres in the state have closed in recent years due to economic distress and the failure of state regulars and lawmakers to provide adequate funding for redemption centres, where consumers return their bottles and cans, claims a press release by non-profit organisation Consumer Watchdog.

The recycling advocates have called on the state to provide relief to the recycling centres in order to help consumers get their bottle deposits returned.

“The City of Santa Monica has spent millions of dollars over the years to keep Santa Monica Bay clean and free of plastics,” said Susan Collins, executive director of the Container Recycling Institute. “Beverage containers and their caps constitute four of the top ten items found in the litter stream during beach clean-ups. Beverage container deposit laws have been found to reduce beverage container litter by 40 per cent.

“The closure of this facility will likely lead to an increase in beverage container litter on Santa Monica’s streets and beaches, and ultimately, into the Santa Monica Bay. The closure of this facility will also deprive residents of a convenient way to get their $3 million in deposits back each year.”

Jamie Court, the president of Consumer Watchdog, added: “It’s outrageous that the agency charged with overseeing recycling has a $360m reserve fund it has not tapped to help consumers get their deposits back. Consumers pay about $1.5 billion each year for bottle and can deposits, but are only getting half of their nickels and dimes returned. Bottle deposits are becoming a tax, rather than a deposit.”