California Karma: Rising Wages, Workers Comp Help Kill State’s Biggest Recycling Company

Operating the largest recycling chain in one of the most expensive states to do business has its costs.

On Monday, rePlanet, California’s largest chain of bottle and can recycling centers abruptly shut its doors, closing all of its 284 facilities and laying off 750 employees.

“With the continued reduction in state fees, the depressed pricing of recycled aluminum and PET plastic, and the rise in operating costs resulting from minimum wage increases and required health and workers compensation insurance, the Company has concluded that operation of these recycling centers and supporting operations is no longer sustainable,” a company spokesman said in a statement Monday. [Emphasis added.]

Like several other states, California passed an increase to its minimum wage to gradually increase its minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2023.

However, several California cities increased their minimum wage levels to $15 in advance of the state’s minimum.

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