Bloomberg Businessweek

California’s Recycling Industry Is in the Dumps

Low prices for scrap drive recyclers out of business | “There’s been a massive crisis and a massive failure to respond”

About 90 percent of the 8 billion soda cans sold in California every year get turned in for recycling and a 5¢ refund. But cheaper commodity prices, plus lower Chinese demand for America’s used bottles and cans, have upended the economics of the state’s recycling industry. Over the past two years, California’s recycling rate has fallen enough to relegate more than 2 billion containers a year to landfills.

About 700 of the 2,400 redemption centers California had in 2011

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