Looking at California’s Recycling Laws

Recycling aluminum cans for cash is something most of us may do every once in awhile. Odds are if you live in Los Angeles you’ll toss your empty cans into that blue recycling bin to be picked up on trash/recycling day each week. Sure, it’s good for the environment but if you held onto those cans and instead brought them to the recycling center nearest you you could actually end up with some money in your pocket.

For most of us that extra money is just pocket change but to those without a home or income it can mean the difference between eating or going hungry. We’ve all seen the image of a homeless man or woman loaded down with bags full of aluminum cans. Here in California, due to our recycling laws, those bags translate into cash.

California has something called CRV or “California Redemption Value” which is an extra cost added onto a product in a recyclable container (such as aluminum cans) at the time of purchase. It’s there as an incentive to get people to return those empty containers and get that money back, allowing more containers to be recycled. Of course, unfortunately, not everyone is good about recycling as is evidenced by the number of aluminum cans you can still see on sidewalks and roadways.

Los Angeles homeless recycle aluminum cans
Los Angeles homeless recycle aluminum cans

Enterprising homeless, however, often collect the cans others have thrown away and take advantage of the redemption value those cans can bring.

If you’ve ever wondered about CRV the law states that anyone may bring up to 50 aluminum, 50 glass, 50 plastic  and 50 bi-metal containers (with the California Redemption Value labeling on them) and will be entitled to be paid by count (and not by weight). Of course you need to tell the recycling center staff what exactly is in the load you bring an how you would like to be paid prior to giving your load of recyclables to them.

California’s CRV means cash for your scrap metal

As an example let’s assume someone brings in the maximum amount of CRV containers (all less than 24 ounces). The CRV for each of these is five cents. Someone with that 50-50-50-50 mix has 200 items that can be sold by count and would receive $10. That’s not a great deal of money to most of us but to someone with no other form of income, it’s a lifesaving amount.

If you want to know more details about CRV, check out the State of California’s Cal Recycle website or read their pdf document on which containers are eligible. Regardless, if you have aluminum cans that you want to recycle for cash, TM Scrap Metals in Sun Valley is your local recycling resource which pays cash for your scrap.