Arizona Company Ordered To Pay $32 Million To California

August 18, 2014

As part of our rubbish series this past May we did a story about aluminum beverage can recycling fraud. Businesses in Arizona buying cans at an artificially high value and transporting the metal to California to claim the 10 cents per can.

CalRecycle is the state agency that controls the California redemption value program. The agency is going after an Arizona company that defrauded the system.

Mission Fiber Group in Chandler and Burbank Recycling in California owe $32 million in restitution for illegally claiming money from CalRecycle for out of state aluminum beverage cans.

CalRecycle Spokesperson Mark Oldfield said the two companies worked together between 2004 and 2007. He says new reforms and changes to the states recycling laws will make it hard for companies to defraud the state out of this much money.

“Anybody importing out-of-state containers is now required by California law to go through one of our agricultural inspection stations and fill out a materials form that says what they are bringing into the state and how much they are bringing in and where they are taking it,” said Oldfield. 

Recent reforms also limit the volume of aluminum that can be claimed for California redemption value to 100 pounds per day. Even if CalRecycle gets the $32 million restitution it’s owed, that would barely make a dent in the agency’s deficit of $100 million annually.