Minimum Wage Increase Takes Out California's Biggest Recycling Biz

California is the home of recycling. And the recycling business is failing.

California's largest operator of recycling redemption centers shut down Monday and laid off 750 employees.

So much for all those "Green Jobs" that the 2020 Democrats keep promising.

RePlanet closed all 284 of its centers, and company president David Lawrence said the decision was driven by increased business costs and falling prices of recycled aluminum and PET plastic, the San Jose Mercury News reported.

The move came three years after RePlanet closed 191 of its recycling centers and laid off 278 workers.

Now many San Francisco Bay Area residents have few or no options for redeeming their recyclables, which is especially concerning for those who live in poverty or experience homelessness and rely on recycling for income.

People going through your trash to redeem your recyclables are being subsidized by the extra charges you're paying per bottle. Eliminating that entire economy would not be a bad thing.

Consumer Watchdog, a nonprofit that studies issues in California's recycling industry, estimated that more than 40% of all redemption centers have closed in the last five years. The closures result in consumers only getting back about half of their nickel and dime bottle and can deposits, according to a recent report from the nonprofit.

Advocates are urging the state to reform how it subsidizes recycling centers to account for rising operating costs in the wake of continuously low aluminum and plastic prices.

Of course they are.

We've got a rent seeking industry that just isn't being subsidized enough at consumer expense. And somehow all these green businesses with their green jobs keep failing no matter how much they are subsidized.

But here's the best part.

“With the continued reduction in state fees, the depressed pricing of recycled aluminum and PET plastic, and the rise in operating costs resulting from minimum wage increases and required health and workers compensation insurance, the Company has concluded that operation of these recycling centers and supporting operations is no longer sustainable,” a company spokesman said in a statement Monday.

Minimum wage increases, one lefty policy, took out recycling, another lefty policy.

The closure led the group Consumer Watchdog to call on the state to step in and require all grocery and convenience store chains to begin redeeming bottles and cans.

“We warned just months ago that the bottle deposit program was in crisis and today’s closure shows consumers are being left in the lurch by the failure of the state to keep recycling centers open,” said consumer advocate Liza Tucker in a statement. “Governor Newsom needs to tackle this problem personally and make reform of the broken bottle deposit system a top priority this fall. CalRecycle has failed to deal with the problems we have raised and they have now become a full blown crisis for consumers and recycling in California.”

There's no crisis for consumers here. There's a crisis for lefty policymaking.

The crisis for consumers is proposals like Consumer Watchdog's, which will raise prices at supermarkets for consumers.

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