The only facility that accepted bottles and cans for recycling in Del Norte County is closing its doors.
Julindra Recycling is currently up for sale for $775,000, according to a Ming Tree Real Estate listing. General Manager Julie Badorek confirmed Monday that the facility will close, although she was unable to elaborate further.
Julindra’s closure date is set for Sept. 23, said Tedd Ward, director of the Del Norte Solid Waste Management Authority. The closest buy back center to Crescent City will be in McKinleyville, he said.
“Over 35 percent of the recycling centers that were open in 2013 have closed,” Ward said. “We are now the third county in the state that looks to be without a buy back center.”
Founded in the 1970s by Jordan Kekry, Julindra had accepted most of Del Norte’s recyclables, including material collected curbside by Recology Del Norte and the bottles and cans consumers turn in for the California Refund Value of 5-10 cents.
Following Kekry’s death in early 2016, his daughter, Badorek, who took over as general manager, terminated the firm’s contract with Recology, stating it could no longer carry the financial burden for processing the materials collected at the curb.
In addition to continuing to accept CRV materials, Julindra processed newspaper, office paper, tin cans, colored and clear glass, corrugated cardboard as well as milk and laundry detergent jugs.
Once Julindra closes, the closest facility that will accept CRV materials will be Humboldt Sanitation & Recycling, about 70 miles away, said Lance Klug, information officer for the California Department of Resources, Recycling and Recovery, also known as CalRecycle. In addition to presenting challenges for consumers, Julindra’s closure may also be a problem for those who sell CRV containers, he said.
The California Beverage Container Recycling & Litter Reduction Act, which passed in 1986, stipulated that all CRV retailers would become recyclers of last resort if there are no buy back centers in the area, according to Klug. With the closing of Julindra in Del Norte County, this impacts 17 CRV retailers including Safeway, Grocery Outlet and Walmart, he said.
CalRecycle will notify those retailers that a convenience zone has become unserved, Klug said. The retailer can then choose to either set up a buy back kiosk on their property, accept CRV items from consumers in the store or pay a daily $100 “opt-out” fee, Klug said.
The process of finding a new operator willing to take on a buy back center could take weeks or even months, Ward said. Recology will still collect recycling materials at the curb and the community drop off bins will still be in operation, but Ward noted that Recology doesn’t appear interested in filling Julindra’s shoes when it comes to a CRV buyback center.
“A buy back center is its own special thing, you have to go through a certification process, it has its own set of rules you have to abide by,” he said.
According to Jeremy Herber, general manager of Recology Del Norte, the waste collector hopes to agree to a lease with Julindra and use the facility to sort and process the recyclables it collects from Del Norte homes and businesses. If the lease agreement goes through, Recology will also accept clean cardboard from small businesses starting Oct. 1, Herber said.
Recology’s purchase of Eel River Resource Recovery has been finalized, which means that Del Norte’s recyclable materials are now being processed at a plant on the Samoa Peninsula, Herber said.
“Our first load went out last Tuesday and Thursday,” he said. “All the recycling is not going to the Humboldt Waste (Management) Authority any more, it’s now going straight to Recology Samoa. That will continue to be the process from here on out.”
According to Ward, at least one company is looking into taking the buy back center over from Julindra, although he hasn’t heard anything further. However, the responsibility for the success of the CRV program rests with CalRecycle, he said.
Recyclers were intended to stay profitable by selling the material they collected for scrap value and through supplemental payments from CalRecycle for processing and transporting the items, Ward said.
“Unfortunately, CalRecycle’s calculation of those payments resulted in recycling centers being less profitable for several years running,” he said.
The number of recycling centers in California went from 2,173 in 2015 to 1,635 in 2017, according to Klug.