Opinion

Recycling locally

Opening a recycling business may sound easy, but it’s not. You have to have the right facility in the right location. There’s a ton of red tape, permits, and paperwork to complete to get certification from the state. For new recycling businesses, there are classes that must be taken. Then there’s regular visits from the county to check on scale accuracy, plus ongoing record keeping of the recyclables for the state. If that weren’t enough, you have to be able to figure out all the different types of plastic and sort them appropriately.

Jerry Selsor and Willie Guthrie, laid off from good jobs about five years ago, pooled their resources and took on the challenge. They believe in the value of recycling for the community, the earth, and for their own sustenance. They’ve been in business in Oakhurst (in the Enterprise Center near Oakhurst Feed) for four years now.

Due to space constraints, not all recyclables are accepted at Jerry & Willie’s Recycling. They do not accept metal cans, cardboard or paper. They do accept all CRV (California Redemption Value) aluminum cans, for which they pay $1.70 per pound., CRV glass bottles, and CRV plastic beverage containers. Household scrap plastic is accepted although no monetary reimbursement is given. Also accepted for no monetary reimbursement is scrap glass — please sort according to color. Even though they don’t pay for those items, one can feel good about keeping them out of the landfill.

Willie says they don’t expect customers to separate their household scrap plastic, but they do expect the non-CRV to be separated from the CRV. The product label will clearly state (although in small letters sometimes) “CA CRV” or “California Redemption Value.”

The triangle with the number of type of plastic indicates the appropriate recycling stream. However, the triangle does not tell you whether something is CRV. Look on the label. Whether a container is designated as CRV is decided by state legislators. Currently, CRV is five cents for each beverage container less than 24 ounces and 10 cents for each container 24 ounces or greater. Not included in the CRV program are containers for milk, wine and distilled spirits, and large containers of 100% fruit juice.

According to the calrecycle website, the CRV cash incentive has resulted in more than 300 billion aluminum, glass, and plastic beverage containers being recycled since the program began in 1987. In 2013, Californians bought more than 21 billion carbonated and non-carbonated CRV-eligible drinks in aluminum, glass, plastic, and bi-metal containers. More than 18.2 billion of those containers were recycled, saving natural resources, conserving energy, extending the life of our landfills, and helping to reduce emissions of harmful greenhouse gases.

Jerry and Willie’s Recycling is one of a few private recycling operations in Eastern Madera County. Their hours are Monday - Friday 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., and Saturday 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.

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