CalRecycle director to leave his post at year-end

His departure follows the closing of rePlanet CRV redemption centers throughout the state this summer.

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November 25, 2019

Scott Smithline, the director of the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle), has announced that he will resign from the department at year-end, according to local media reports.

Smithline began his role as CalRecycle director in July 2015, having previously served as assistant director for policy development since 2011 for the department, according to www.calrecycle.ca.gov. He was a consultant at the Smithline Group from 2008 to 2011, director of legal and regulatory affairs at Californians Against Waste from 2003 to 2008 and an attorney at Lawyers for Clean Water in 2001. Smithline earned a law degree from the Golden Gate University School of Law.

His resignation was welcomed by Los Angeles-based Consumer Watchdog, which says it is the “first step in overhauling the troubled agency in charge of the state’s failing bottle deposit system.”

“The resignation of Scott Smithline opens the door to remaking the state’s bottle deposit system to ensure that consumers have convenient access to redemption of their empty bottles and cans,” says Consumer Advocate Liza Tucker. “When half of the redemption centers in the state have closed over the last six years, it’s time for new leadership and a new director who recognizes the emergency for what it is."

In August, the largest chain of centers in the state that offered redemptions for California Redemption Value (CRV) containers, rePlanet, closed, removing nearly 300 redemption centers from California’s system.

Consumer Watchdog sent a letter dated Aug. 8 to Gov. Gavin Newsom calling for new leadership at CalRecycle. “The leadership of CalRecycle needs to change its attitude and treat this crisis as a crisis or it needs to be replaced. We suggest an immediate job review for the director of CalRecycle and possible replacement depending upon on its findings,” the letter reads in part.