May 14, 2013
Chris T. Wilson, OVN correspondent
When Ojai body-work therapist and placemat baron Joe Cocke wanted to return a collection of bottles and cans recently, he found that the recycling center in Meiners Oaks had closed.
“If I want to cash these in, I’ll have to drive all the way to Oak View to the place behind Dahl’s Market,” Cocke said.
The extra 10-mile round trip from downtown Ojai made the effort hardly seem worth it for the few dollars he would make from the California Return Value (CRV).
Meiners Oaks Ace Hardware management confirmed that the recycling center behind the El Roblar Drive store closed and left the site at the beginning of April, but they had little other information about the shuttered recycling center, it’s owners or if another similar business would be opening in the area anytime soon.
The closure of the recycling center behind Ace leaves an opportunity gap in the Ojai valley for a new center to set up shop.
Another recycling center behind the Von’s supermarket at the “Y” intersection of Maricopa Highway and West Ojai Avenue self-decertified in November 2009, citing lack of adequate volume, said CalRecycle’s assistant director for public affairs, Mark Oldfield.
State law, administered by CalRecycle, requires that supermarkets with $2 million or more in annual sales must have a recycling center within a half mile of the establishment.
“A supermarket creates what is called a convenience zone,” Oldfield said. “The idea behind it is that’s where people are paying for CRV and they should have a convenient location to recycle their cans and bottles.”
The CRV is not a deposit, but rather a regulatory fee designed to incentivize recycling, Oldfield added. That’s why recycling centers are usually in supermarket parking lots.
Oldfield added that because of the proximity of the Ace Hardware recycling center’s location to Ojai, an exemption had been in place for other markets in Ojai that would otherwise be viable “convenience zones.”
That exemption has been lifted, Oldfield said.
“The notice to the retailers that charge CRV in the unserved zones has been sent out,” Oldfield said.
That notice establishes a 60-day grace period in which the convenience zone retailers are not required to redeem CRV cash value in store.
“A 30-day notice will also be sent assuming no recycling centers are established in this time period,” Oldfield said. “They will have to begin redeeming in store until a center is established to serve those zones.”
Meanwhile in Oak View behind Dahl’s Market, there’s been a spike in business at the California Recycling Services Corp. location, Manager Ron Zarin said.
“We have been busier lately,” Zarin said of the Oak View recycling center. California Recycling Services operates six locations in Ventura County, but hasn’t made plans to expand into Ojai or Meiners Oaks, he said.
“We’ve talked about it but we haven’t made any decisions yet,” Zarin said.
For Cocke, who lives on the East End and works in downtown Ojai, driving to Oak View was not an option he exercised.
“I ended up tossing them in the recycling dumpster at work,” he said.
To learn more about California’s CRV program and find all the necessary information about recycling center opportunities, visit www.calrecycle.ca.gov or call 1-800-Recycle (732-9253).