The California Chamber of Commerce has filed a lawsuit against the state requesting that it pay back the millions of dollars it borrowed from the recycling fund over the past eight years.
According to the Chamber, the state has “borrowed” a total of $566.7 million from the Beverage Container Recycling Fund to plug shortfalls in the state budget.
Beverage manufacturers pay fees on various beverage containers sold in the state. Those fees are collected and put into the recycling fund, money that is used to pay recyclers to cover some of the cost associated with collecting and sorting beverage containers.
Since the state has been taking money and not repaying it, beverage manufacturers are now paying higher fees and recyclers have dwindled, the Chamber says.
As a result, some recycling centers have been forced to close or make sever budget and staff cuts.
The state’s Budget Conference Committee is now reporting that by June the recycling fund will be in the red by $161 million, according to the Chamber.
State law requires that recyclers are paid handling fees so that consumers can redeem their deposits on beverage containers. Without the repaid loans from the state, the program will fail and the state will lose more money and jobs, according to the Chamber.