By Jack Burns
CALIFORNIA — There used to be a time when a solid glass Coca-Cola bottle, if returned, would put a dime in a man’s pocket. And while reusing glass bottles was much more sanitary and helpful for the environment, the bottling industry offered plastics to the world in place of glass. Recycling, however, continued with used plastics being able to be transformed into a myriad of useful things. But for the subjects in our next story, apparently, the temptation to make a quick buck by recycling plastics, has gotten them in trouble with the police state, who is apparently picky about from where their recycled materials originate.
Balmore Alvarado (49) and Anthony Sanchez (56) were arrested in a week-long sting operation centered on nabbing out-of-state recyclers who were transporting their recyclables into California to cash in on CA’s lucrative reimbursement program known as the California Value Redemption Fund.
According to a press release from CalRecycle, “The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery joined the California Department of Justice and the California Department of Food and Agriculture to conduct the five-day operation from March 13 to 17,” in Blythe, California on the Arizona-California state line.
After learning the men’s paperwork was improper, police had them arrested and their loads confiscated. “Both drivers face charges of felony recycling fraud, attempted grand theft, filing a false or forged document, and conspiracy. If convicted, the men could be subject to financial penalties and incarceration. The charges carry a sentence of between six months and three years,” the statement reads.
At issue is how the CVR is collected and then returned to the citizen who recycles their used beverage containers. CalRecycle explained how it works… “California’s Beverage Container Recycling and Litter Reduction Act incentivizes recycling through a California Redemption Value (CRV) fee paid by California consumers at the time of purchase and refunded upon return of the empty beverage containers to CalRecycle-certified recycling centers. Because the fee is not paid on beverages purchased outside the state, those containers are not eligible for CRV redemption,” the statement reads.
Calling Alvarado and Sanchez members of a “criminal enterprise,” the government agency stated those who live outside of the state often attempt to illegally bring into California non-California recyclables to collect the lucrative fees paid out for used plastics. Authorities said Alvarado’s tractor trailer full of plastics was worth an estimated $11,000 and Sanchez’ load approached $10,000. Both men have been charged with felonies for “attempting to defraud” the CRV fund which rightfully belongs to Californians.
So, let’s get this straight California. You collect a CVR fee of “5 cents for each container under 24 ounces and 10 cents for each container 24 ounces or greater” from bottles sold and purchased in your state. But everyone knows California is a state which has a thriving tourism industry, so it’s more than safe to assume not every bottle purchased in California is from residents of your state.
So, you collect a “tax” in essence even though on your website you prefer to call it a “regulatory fee.” Okay. We’ll go with that. You’re so awash with cash that you pay yourself “46 million” in administration fees. Seems lucrative for everyone who works on the board or in the admin offices. You give away, by our estimate, 17.5 million in grants and educational programs, but you gloat over nabbing two interstate semi-truck drivers attempting to cash in on the program’s payouts for keeping our nation’s streams, and lands clean.
As we’ve already stated, we know a great number of bottle drinkers are from out of state, yet when a few of those guys come back into the state to reclaim their CVR fee, you arrest them, make an example of them, and treat them as some kind of serious felons. You should really be ashamed of yourselves. You created a massive bureaucratic recycling program which is more of a tax on the working class California citizen that the rich who can afford it. And then you criminalize anyone who attempts to clean up the environment. What you’re really worried about, and what keeps you up at night, is if EVERY Californian kept all their recyclables and brought them all back to you at the same time and wanted their money back, you wouldn’t be able to continue paying yourselves the 46 million in administrator salaries.