Recycling makes sense (and sometimes dollars)

cents and dollarsSome people are motivated simply by knowing they are helping the environment by recycling beverage containers curbside, others require financial motivation to recycle, and still others recycle because of financial necessity.

In California, each time we purchase a beverage in a plastic or aluminum container, we are charged a 5-cent California Redemption Value (CRV) at the cash register.  It’s the state’s way of motivating individuals to return the empty container, instead of throwing it in the trash, where it is likely to wind up in a landfill.  If the container is larger, the CRV is 10 cents.

People who expand the scope of collecting recyclables beyond their own bottles and cans and then redeem the containers for CRV may make enough to consider it a stream of revenue that helps make ends meet, particularly during this recession.

I recently spoke with a woman, who by collecting bottles and cans on the CSUN campus, adds $7 to $10 a day to her income.  A young man attending Moorpark College collects enough to cover the cost of filling his car’s gas tank.

An interesting point, however, is that it’s possible to redeem more than the 5-cent CRV, because some recycling centers pay scrap value on aluminum cans, as well. This may amount to several pennies more per can. That doesn’t sound like much when recycling a six-pack or two, but it can really add up as the amount recycled grows, so consider checking out a couple of places before redeeming plastic and aluminum beverage containers.


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