May 26, 2021

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Consumers in California pay five or ten cent deposits for almost every beverage in a bottle or can, but new reports show many are not getting their money back at recycling centers.

The centers, also known as redemption centers, are quickly disappearing. Consumer Watchdog, a nonprofit, claims not a single redemption center is open West of the 405 in the City of Los Angeles.

Most redemption centers closed before the pandemic, claiming the state failed to properly fund the CRV escrow account.

Undercover video from Consumer Watchdog found many grocery stores refused to take Nancy Hannickel’s empty bottles and cans, citing COVID-19 protocols. However, these rules expired in August.

For a year, Hannickel has been storing all of her bottles and cans that she believes could be worth over $1,200.

“It pays for your lunches at work or your gasoline,” she said. “It’s just a little extra bonus.”

Consumer advocates said this can be resolved with a new Senate bill that would shift the responsibility of the deposit system from the state to bottle regulators.