So is there any way to get your CRV deposits back?
Recycling changes have kind of gone under the radar. The governor's executive order allowed recyclers and grocers to stop redeeming bottles and cans during the pandemic -- if they were concerned about safety. The CalRecycle website doesn't have information about where to go -- so 7 On Your Side found out.
RELATED: Recycling centers shut down, leaving consumers unable to redeem bottle deposits
The garage at Melissa Rohlf's San Bruno home is filled with empties.
"This is glass bottles, cans, plastic, plastic... I've got bags and bags or plastic bottles," Rohlf said, showing us bags and boxes filled with bottles and cans.
She used to take them to her neighborhood Re-Planet recycling center -- until Re-Planet closed all 279 locations last summer.
Bottles and cans piled up in her garage. And then, the pandemic.
"It was already a challenge because so many places I used to go to on the peninsula have closed, but now with shelter-in-place I don't know what the rules are if they're even open how to recycle while maintaining social distancing. I'm super confused," Rohlf said.
RELATED: Grocers are required to redeem CRV on bottles -- but do they?
Many recyclers did close their doors during the pandemic -- and grocers are temporarily off the hook to redeem your empties.
So where does that leave folks like Rohlf with all these bottles ?
"I very much would like to recycle them, and I don't know where to go with rules of necessary services," she said.
Rohlf says her first concern is for the environment -- but her gripe is about the deposit she can't get back.
"The easier you make the recycling program, the more people will do it. I think the CRV makes it more complicated. You're paying a fee that nobody likes, a tax. It's difficult to get the tax back which nobody likes. Maybe it did at one time help people recycle, but I don't think it does right now... For people with a tight budget it's probably very difficult for them to pay that extra CRV fee," she said.
RELATED: Is it time to scrap California's bottle deposit law?
Plus, there's no room in her garage for the car!
7 On Your Side did some research and bingo: we found an open recycling center near Rohlf - ZARC International of South City.
"I'm really grateful for you finding this place, I had no idea where to go," she told us.
Behind her, cars lined up for blocks. Inside, everyone had to wear a mask and keep a six-foot social distance.
Rohlf and her son Cole filled two giant bins -- and they still had more.
They guided it all tentatively up to the front.
RELATED: Consumers search for open recycling centers, California lawmakers look into bottle redemption solutions
It finally got weighed...
... and they finally got paid.
"We got $40 and four cents. He got all straight As in school. We're gonna get some ice cream," Rohlf said of her son.
RELATED: CalRecycle announces a high-tech solution to the recycling center crisis
If you want to recycle, we have answers for you. We've found open recycling centers all across the bay area. Here's the list of recycling centers that are still open:
Dos Palos Recycling Co.
1565 Olivina Ave. Livermore, CA 94551
Refund Recycle Center LLC
2680 Old First St. Livermore, CA 94550
Sanchez Cash for Cans
1468 44th Ave. Oakland, CA 94601
Tri Ced Community Recycling
33377 Western Ave. Union City, CA 94587
CONTRA COSTA COUNTY
Pleasant Hill Recycling Center
1320 Galaxy Way, Concord, CA 94520
Recycling Zone Inc.
181A Clark Ave. Pittsburg, CA 94565
The Sun Recycling Center
3315 Willow Pass Rd. Baypoint, CA 94565
1725 Cavallo Rd. Antioch, CA 94509
Delta Scrap and Salvage
1371 Main St. Oakley, CA 94561
Sun's Pad and Foam Recycling
108 Medburn St. B1 Concord, CA 94520
NONE OPEN THAT WE FOUND - if you have information on an open facility, let us know!
Blue Front Recycling
2877 Solano Ave. Napa, CA 94558
Devlin Road Transfer Station Buy Back
889 Devlin Rd. American Canyon, CA 94503
SAN FRANCISCO COUNTY
Our Planet Recycling SF
445V Bayshore Blvd. San Francisco, CA 94124
SAN MATEO COUNTY
ZARC International LLC
26 S Linden Ave. South San Francisco, CA 94080
J & D Recycling
1015 N Amphlett Blvd. San Mateo, CA 94401
SANTA CLARA COUNTY
Danny Recycling Center
1745 Walsh Ave. Santa Clara, CA 95050
Bay Counties Waste Services Inc
301 Carl Rd. Sunnyvale, CA 94089
340 Mini Dr. Vallejo, CA 94589
Recycling Zone Inc.
1973 Broadway St. Vallejo, CA 94589
Recycling Zone Inc.
4989B Peabody Rd. Fairfield, CA 94533
38 Sheridan St. Vallejo, CA 94590
M & R Recycling
659 Highway 12, Rio Vista, CA 94571
1193 E Monte Vista Ave. Ste. B, Vacaville, CA 95688
370 Sebastopol Rd. Santa Rosa, CA 95407
N Leasing Company LLC
3911 Santa Rosa Ave. Santa Rosa, CA 95407
Petaluma Recycling Center
315 2nd St. Petaluma, CA 94952
470 Caletti Ave. Windsor, CA 95492
Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.
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