Robert Hill and Julie Barlow recycle their water bottles at Rio Vista Elementary School on Thursday, Nov. 30, 2017. Water bottles have been made by the available Santa Clarita Valley School Food Service Agency for students to drink from. | Photo: Nikolas Samuels/The Signal.
California’s largest bottle and can recycling center chain, rePlanet, shut its doors Monday, including both locations in the Santa Clarita Valley.
“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,” read a company statement provided by David Lawrence, president and CFO of rePlanet.
The two locations in the valley, located at a Ralphs parking lot in Valencia and an Albertsons in Saugus, will join the list of 284 centers that ceased operations Monday.
“We regret that these site closures will negatively impact our employees, grocer partners, customers and the recycling community at large,” the prepared statement read.
While Lawrence did not respond to questions about how many employees are affected by the statewide closures, a 2016 news release indicated that the company kept 800 employees after it closed 191 recycling centers and laid off 278 employees throughout California.
“Following the most recent reduction in state fees on Jan. 1, 2016, and after enduring 12 months of unprecedented declines in commodities pricing of aluminum and PET plastic, coupled with the mandated rise in operating costs as a result of minimum wage increases and required health and workers compensation insurance, the company has concluded that operation of these recycling centers is no longer sustainable,” the 2016 news release said.
While the number of closures is significant, rePlanet centers only make up 18% of all recycling facilities available for the public, according to Lance Klug, spokesman for CalRecycle, the state’s recycling program.
Other locations still available for recycling in the SCV include Sammy’s Recycling Center on 24953 Railroad Ave. and the Conservation Station on 20833 Santa Clara St.
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