A 25 percent boost to the amount paid for empty bottles and cans is putting more money in the pockets of some of Tracy’s lowest-paid workers and increasing the amount of trash they help recycle.
David Von Taylor said the $10 to $50 worth of bottles and cans he collects every day is his only source of income.
The 49-year-old Tracy native has been paid more for his efforts since Jan. 1, after the state missed a 75 percent container recycling target in 2006.
“It definitely makes a big difference to me,” Von Taylor said.
Aluminum, glass, recyclable plastic, metal and newspapers are bought by four Tracy recycling centers, including the Tracy Disposal Buy Back Center.
Buyback center worker Francisco Torres said Monday that “many more people are bringing many more cans” since the prices changed.
The effect of the new prices can’t be measured during the holiday-party period, but Torres gave estimates suggesting weekday recycling was up by about 25 percent last week.
The price paid per small drink container increased from 4 cents to 5 cents, and the price paid per large container increased from 8 cents to 10 cents.
Californians have recycled 160 billion aluminum, glass and plastic beverage containers since the California cash redemption value program was introduced at 1 cent per container 20 years ago, according to the Department of Conservation’s recycling division.
The money is collected as taxes on full bottles, but consumers won’t start paying the extra 1 cent or 2 cents for their drinks until July 1, according to spokesman Mark Oldfield.
Oldfield said 55 percent of containers were recycled in 2003, and 61 percent were recycled in 2006.
The recycling division can’t yet gauge the success of the latest change, but Oldfield expects to see an increase in recycling activity when the first monthly report comes out.
City code enforcer Jim Decker said he gives warnings and violation notices — which can lead to fines — to anyone taking recyclables out of blue curbside recycling bins.
Blue recycling bins are included with the city’s monthly garbage bill.
“Tracy Delta Disposal derives some of its income from the processing of those recyclables, so anybody who takes those recyclables is guilty of theft,” Decker said Monday.
But Decker said he lets people take recyclables out of trash cans.
City recycling coordinator Monica Gutierrez said bottles and cans tossed in trash cans are sometimes saved for recycling as the rubbish is inspected, but she said it’s “hit and miss,” with many ending up 40 miles away in San Joaquin County’s Linden landfill with the rest of Tracy’s garbage.
Tracy recycling centers TOMRA Pacific, 902 W. 12th St. Tracy Disposal Buy Back Center, 99 W. Sixth St. Pinos Recycling Co., 3320 N. Tracy Blvd. C&S Metals, 360 Arbor Ave.Source: www.bottlesandcans.comAt a glance
Apartment managers and those without recycling bins can call the finance department with questions at 831-4120.
To reach reporter John Upton, call 830-4274 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.