rePlanet shuts down all California locations
By Keldine Hull
On August 5, California’s largest recycling collection network, rePlanet, has closed all 284 of its locations, including centers throughout the Westside, and laid off 750 employees. The move follows the closure of 191 centers in 2016 that laid off 278 workers.
In a press release, rePlanet announced, “With the continued reduction in State fees, the depressed pricing of recycled aluminum and PET plastic, and the rise in operating costs resulting from minimum wage increases and required health and workers compensation insurance, the Company has concluded that operation of these recycling centers and supporting operations is no longer sustainable.”
The press release continued, “We regret that these site closures will negatively impact our employees, grocer partners, customers and the recycling community at large. We thank our employees for their hard work and dedication in providing convenient recycling opportunities to our valued customers across the State of California.” The recycling network plans to file for Assignment for the Benefit of Creditors (ABC) and have its remaining assets liquidated.
According to Consumer Watchdog, a nonprofit organization which advocates for consumers and taxpayers, rePlanet’s recent closures only add to a growing problem in California. In a letter to Governor Newsom, Consumer Watchdog President Jamie Court wrote, “The closure of the largest recycling chain in the state, rePlanet, has cut the number of recycling centers available to Californians in half over the last 6 years. CalRecycle has long known about these problems, but it has failed to act.”
The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery, CalRecycle, is a department within the California Environmental Protection Agency that administers and provides oversight for all state- managed non- hazardous waste handling and recycling programs.
Court continued, “CalRecycle has failed to save the redemption centers, to force the retailers to live up to their legal obligations, to hold beverage companies accountable for bilking the state and to honestly present the financial ledger of the recycling program. The leadership of CalRecyle needs to change its attitude and treat this crisis as a crisis or it needs to be replaced. We suggest an immediate job review for the director of CalRecycle and possible replacement depending upon on its findings.”
In Santa Monica, the City run buyback center closed down earlier this summer after a contract with Allen Company expired. The City is currently looking for a potential location for a new buyback, per Council action.