Deranged Mind

September 23, 2008

CA Redemption Value

Filed under: California — Tags: , — The Deranged One @ 2:30 am

Back in the days (the 70′s) I used to recycle aluminum cans. Bottles too. Remember the wire carts near the checkout stands where you’d bring your empty coke bottles? Well, as time went on, my garbage company delivered a special can to toss our recyclables into and that’s what we’ve done since.

The kids were asking about the “CA Redemption Value” printed on all the soda cans when we were camping last month. I explained that when we purchase beer, soda, water, or whatever, we pay a deposit and when you return it to one of the recycling centers here in California, you get your deposit back. Well, not quite. If you have to pay sales tax on the beverage you’re buying, you also pay the sales tax on the CRV. Yet when you return the container, you don’t get your tax back. Another sneaky way for the state to milk us dry.

Anyway, the girls thought it was pretty cool so when we got back home, instead of throwing our cans and bottles into the recycle bin, I set up a spare trash can to store them in for a month to see how much we’d collect. The can overflowed in about a week. So I started filling garbage bags.

Now, before you think we’re alcoholics drinking beer like it’s going out of style, worry not. The missus refuses to drink our well water so we go through bottled water like it’s going out of style. And I think the girls decided to see how much soda and juice they could possibly consume. I had to put a stop to the soda. Anyway, we ended up with about 4 or 5 large bags of cans and bottles and today was the end of the 30 day trial period. Actually, yesterday was.

Yesterday, I loaded up all of the cans and bottles into the truck and drove to the local grocery store where I recently saw the recycle container. That’s all they really are here in CA. A fancy conex parked in the corner of the parking lot. I arrived and it wasn’t there anymore. Plus, one of the bags opened up and I had to stop to pick up a couple of the plastic water bottles that blew out. I did my shopping and came back home. And I was a little irritated.

I got on the internet today to figure out where the closest recycling center is. I recognized two of them (the missing one from yesterday was no longer on the list) and off I went. I arrived at the closest one and it’s not there either. What the hell? I head to the second one in the next town over and now I’ve driven 13.1 miles. I pull into the parking lot and I’m a bit surprised to see that it’s there. And it’s open. I unload my junk and drag it over to the container. Two meth addicted dumpster divers rode their bicycles up just as I got there with their bags of cans. So I stood and waited. When it was my turn, the keeper of the bin told me he was going to lunch.

I’m not an expert on customer service, but what the fuck? I was already pissed about driving all over creation trying to find a damn recycling center and now that I’ve unloaded the truck and waited a few minutes, you’re going to tell me to piss off so you can go to lunch? My first instinct was to grab him by the throat and after choking him out, locking him in the container. But that wouldn’t be very Christian, would it? Actually, there were too many soccer moms roaming about the parking lot. I settled for a “fuck you and I hope you choke on your lunch” before loading all of my shit back into the truck and heading off again.

I remembered from my internet search that there was an actual honest to god recycle center at the garbage transfer station. Hopefully it’s not another of these fly-by-night container jobs. So off I go. I get there and now I’ve driven 19.5 miles. Not that I’ve driven forever and a day, but with diesel costing over $4 a gallon and adding pollutants to the air, I’m starting to think that I’m defeating the whole purpose of recycling here. Alas, I arrive at the transfer station and there is indeed a recycling center with scales, conveyor belts, the whole 9 yards. And it’s open!

There are 5 people in line ahead of me. I wonder if they’ve had all the same difficulties I’ve experienced. I wasn’t in a chatty mood, so I didn’t bother to ask. I unload the stuff again and put the cans, glass and plastic bottles in various garbage cans then drag them over to the scale. The poor guy working the scale had a horrible wandering eye. Strabismus for you educated folks. He had an equally horrible personality. In any event, he weighed my stuff. Since I had more than 50 containers, they do it by weight. Here was the grand total for the month:

  • 1.2 pounds of aluminum cans = $1.88
  • 15.8 pounds of plastic bottles = $14.54
  • 28.6 pounds of clear glass = $3.00
  • 23.8 pounds of colored glass = $2.50

He had me sign the receipt then directed me to the scale at the entrance for my cash. The jackass at the entrance had an equally bad disposition. I guess smelling trash all day wouldn’t make me bright and sunny though. So I collected my $21.91 and drove home.

I ended up driving 32.4 miles. For simplicity, we’ll say that I averaged 16 miles per gallon at $4.25 a gallon. So my profit is down to $13.41. That doesn’t include my frustration from finding closed and missing recycling centers. And in the end, I had promised the girls whatever money we made from recycling so they got the money. Was it worth it? Undecided. But I want my sales tax back.

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