RePlanet Reactivates California Reverse Vending Machines

Machines taken out of service because of expensive conversion rate errors.

October 4, 2011
Recycling Today Staff

rePLANET  has been reactivating more than 250 automated plastic bottle recycling facilities it operates throughout California. In a recent announcement, the company says they removed the reverse vending machines earlier in 2011 due to what it says were high cost California Redemption Value (CRV) conversion rate errors made by the state.
Despite the error, the company has decided to reactivate the RVMs due to increased interest from the public, and said it will bear the cost burden until the state corrects the problem.

Through the state’s redemption program, California residents receive a flat per-bottle rate, but rePLANET says that when it recycles the bottles they receive a per-pound rate determined by CalRecycle, the state’s recycling agency. The company claims the per-pound rate does not cover the cost of the refund paid to the consumer. This is unsustainable for rePLANET, which loses money every time a plastic bottle is redeemed through a machine.

“We still hope the state fixes the rate issue, but we are no longer willing to transfer the cost of existing state errors to our valued customers,” Matt Millhiser, rePLANET director of marketing, says. “We are pleased to be able to reactivate the automated machines and ensure our customers continue to enjoy the high-level professional service they’ve come to expect at rePLANET facilities statewide.”

The company expects to have all of its RVMs operational by Oct. 31, 2011.