• Viviane Nguyen

Canning Recycling Centers in California Could Mean Less Cash for Vietnamese Recyclers

The image of Vietnamese elders collecting cans and bottles to recycle to make extra cash is not an unfamiliar one. However in California, it will become harder for some Vietnamese communities to recycle in exchange for extra income this year.

Hundreds of recycling centers have closed around the state. California’s largest recycler, rePlanet, closed more than one-third of its recycling centers. There are now 191 less beverage container redemption and recycling centers.

“Rural communities, in many cases in Northern California, have few if any locations to be able to recycle their cans and bottles,” said Senator Mike McGuire, D-Healdsburg.

One of the reason recyclers like rePlanet called for the shutdowns are due to lower subsidies they receive from California’s recycling fund. The demand is for the state legislature to adjust the payment amounts for beverage container redemption centers.

Additional closure of beverage container redemption and recycling centers negatively impacts grocery stores. Although reluctant to take trash back into the store, grocery stores would be forced to accept the recycling items themselves or face a potential fine. To avoid this predicament, grocers, recyclers, and retailers have lobbied the Assembly to freeze payments to recyclers at the higher 2015 rates. The Senate and Governor Brown still need to approve the measure.

For the Vietnamese community who is fond of recycling soda cans and beer bottles, they will have to drive further to find a new recycling center in lieu of the one that closed down nearby.

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Viviane Nguyen She is a lover of politics. She has researched and worked in different levels of government in San Jose, Sacramento, Washington D.C., and Thailand. She is motivated to highlight issues impacting the Vietnamese-American community and Asian American communities at large. She was formerly a Cal-in-Sacramento Fellow at UC Berkeley and notably a Public Policy and International Affairs Fellow at the Goldman School of Public Policy. She wants to write to show why politics, especially in 2016, is important.

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