Recycling Experiment:  Getting our Fair Share

Purpose:  In California a law was passed to promote recycling.  Essentially the idea behind the law was to place a value of 2.5¢  (called the California Redemption Value) on every soda can which the buyer would have to pay up front and would later receive upon recycling the can.  However, as the number of recycling machines which pay the true value decline, recyclers are forced to recycle at private recycling companies and centers. In general these companies pay by weight of the cans. This Bi-week, Scientific AmeriKen will put these methods of paying for recycling to the test and see if they pay the true 2.5¢ per can as promised by the state of California.

Hypothesis:  Scientific AmeriKen will take a naive position on its hypothesis and assume that the State of California stands by their word and will redeem all the money initially shelled out to the California Redemption Value.

Equipment:  Needed for this experiment were trash bags and a location which to recycle aluminum cans.

Procedure: The first step is to collect a large mass of aluminum cans.  Before returning to a recycling center, count all the cans and multiply by 2.5 to reach the expected amount of return. Compare with the actual amount given by the recycling center and note observations.

Number of Cans Recycled Expected Amount Actual Amount Received Difference Additional Notes
336 Cans $8.400 $8.56 $0.16 Cans uncrushed
363 Cans $9.075 $8.65 ($0.425) Cans crushed
383 Cans $9.575 $9.20 ($0.375) Cans uncrushed

Conclusion:  Based from the results it would appear as though the practice of getting Ca. redemption value money back boils down to nothing more then a gamble, sometimes one comes out ahead, most of the time not.  Considering all the money being played with is the consumers to begin, Scientific AmeriKen believes that in fact the the term "Ca. Redemption Value" is indeed just a way of rephrasing the term "tax".  It was also noted that little there was little relevance as to whether the cans were crushed or not.  Further research into this matter will be conducted as a letter will be written to the government of the state of California presenting this evidence and demanding monetary reimbursement of 64 cents.
This letter can be viewed in word .doc format or in .txt format.


After 3 months, the state of California has responded. It appears the 64 cents is lost forever in governmental red tape. This response letter can be viewed by clicking here.


Return to Scientific AmeriKen

Click here to go to a printable version of this experiment
Right Click here to adjust the sound--->