ChasneyS's Blog

Container deposit laws stinging states as recycling scam siphoning millions

Posted on October 12, 2012 05:05 AM, in ChasneyS's Blog

Even recycling allures criminals. Millions of dollars are lost annually to recycling fraud, such as where criminals illegally cash in recyclable containers like aluminum cans in states that pay individuals for it, such as California, Maine and Michigan. Source of article: Why not take a review of each of our websites?

Recycling causes fraud to start

So many things in life all boil down to “Seinfeld.” The super-popular sitcom from the 1990s “about nothing,” often contains some prescient insights. One episode, according to the LA Times, involved characters who would drive trucks full of beer bottles to Michigan, where they could get 10 cents per bottle, rather than 5 cents in New York.

Oddly enough, the LA Times points this out in an article about how the exact same scheme is costing the state of California thousands and thousands of dollars per year. Aluminum cans, glass and plastic bottles, e.g. beverage containers, could be redeemed for five cents per at private recycling centers, larger containers for 10 cents per or more. Just like in “Seinfeld,” people are bringing in out-of-state recyclables and are getting paid for it.

Getting A quick payday not too hard

The state of California is losing at least $40 million a year due to fraud in recycling, though some believe it is as much as $200 million a year. Not only are people from out of state driving in truckloads of cans and bottles, but there's fraudulent bookkeeping leading to containers being counted many times. California only refunds cash for bottles purchased in the state, but that does not stop people from out of the state arriving.

California, like other states with container deposit law or “bottle bill,” requires a 5 to 10 cent deposit for containers from the manufacturer, in the purchase price of whatever the item is, like beer, wine, soda or bottled water. Those deposits could be redeemed for cash, if the purchaser or somebody returns the container to a designated recycling center. The way fraud works is that people drop off bottles and cans from out of state.

Last year, $1.1 billion was paid in container deposits. The state paid that plus $100 million for the return of said storage containers. The state also isn't really alone.

Thieves trying to steal

It seems that manufacturers have understood how essential it is to reuse old containers for a while now. In fact, according to, there were instances of buying back empty containers for reuse in the 1800s. A&R Thwaites and Co., was a business that was known for paying customers for empty bottles. A business called Schweppes was also doing the same thing.

Other states with comparable regulations have also found fraud. For example, Michigan loses $13 million a year due to container recycle fraud, according to Another one is Maine, according to Bangor Daily News. The state loses about $8 million a year in deposit fraud. Of all containers, 10 percent were redeemed from out of state. There are 11 states that have these regulations.


Los Angeles Times

Bangor Daily News

Tags: bottle, bill, container, deposit, fraud, recycling

Loading Comments...


{ds_PageTotalItemCount} commentcomments

Post a Comment

Personal Blogs