Jay Katari, an environmental activist in Florida and owner of several textile recycling companies across the country, joins a growing chorus of outrage over alleged recycling fraud taking place in California. Most recently, the California Department of Justice filed approximately ten criminal cases this year against fraud rings bringing in aluminum cans from neighboring states outside California, like Arizona and Nevada. It is estimated that 8.5 billion recyclable cans were sold in California last year and approximately 8.3 billion were returned for a nickel. “That means that either California is recycling nearly 100% of their aluminum cans or more likely opportunistic scammers are draining the state recycling fund and literally stealing from the State of California.”
Nevada and Arizona do not havedeposit laws and truckloads of aluminum cans arecrossing the state border into California and redeeming the cans for nickels – that add up to millions quickly.
The illegal trade is depleting the state’s $1.1-billion recycling fund and California officials recently estimated the fraud is costing the state $40 million a year while other experts say the number can be even higher – up to $200 million.
“In a recession, especially one that has hit the State of California particularly hard and with an exceedingly high budget deficit, the lost revenue hurts schools, municipalities and others who depend on state aid particularly hard,” says Katari.
Private recycling centers do take certain precautions, for example they are not allowedto buy more than 500 pounds of aluminum or 2,500 pounds of glass from any individual in any given day, but because it is one of the only states in the region to have a redemption program, it has become a magnet for fraud.
Jay Katari is 38 years old and I live in Boca Raton, Florida with my wife Kimberly and my four children. I was born in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Jay Katari is a 2nd degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do. He has travelled extensively in the Caribbean, and South America while developing new markets to sell second hand clothing.