Nathan Stoller and his wife Catherine have been paying rent for this vacant building located at 689 Main St. near the west end of Chester, where they hope to open a recycling center in the near future. Photo by Stacy Fisher

Reopening recycling center top of area list

Until March of 2016, Chester residents could recycle aluminum and glass containers through the rePlanet Company, which operated a California Redemption Value (CRV) center located behind Holiday Market in Chester.

That facility — actually just a bungalow of sorts — is now long gone, closed down due to a combination of declining commodity prices and a reduction in state subsidies, reducing recycling incentives.

But the need for a place to recycle in Chester remains just as urgent today as it did then.

Currently the closest facility that still accepts certain recyclables is at the Chester Transfer Station located several miles outside town.


Local resident plans recycling center — maybe

Nathan Stoller and his wife Catherine have lived in Chester for the past six years. “We find that the City of Chester desperately needs a recycling center,” he asserted. “Everybody in town is asking where they can take their recyclables without driving a long distance to Greenville or Portola.”

Why did they originally plan to open a recycling center?

“It wasn’t to get rich,” Stoller responded. “My wife and I are both retired, and we thought the community needed this service and we saw it as a small business opportunity.”

He said that he and his wife decided to work on opening a recycling center in town since the first of April of this year.

“We’re finally at the point in our plan where apparently Caltrans wants us to provide a full-scale architectural drawing of the property where we want to locate the center that we’re currently renting at 689 Main Street,” near the west end of town.


“Why I have to have an architectural drawing when the building is already in place is beyond me.”

Stoller said he has already invested $1,500 out-of-pocket for a permit to operate a recycling center: $300 for the architectural drawings, plus at least three months rent for the vacant building, “a total investment of over $4,000.”

The owner of the building, who lives in Polo, Wyoming, told Stoller that, “She very much wanted us in there. … I originally thought we would be up and running within a couple of weeks, but got held up” with additional unexpected bureaucratic requirements and expenses, “and so we just kept paying rent to hold the building in our name.”

Because very little information was provided on setting up a recycling center from Cal Recycle, “we visited the center in Portola to find out more about what was involved in operating a center.”

Stoller talked to County Supervisor Sherrie Thrall about the project, “and she’s being very helpful and supportive. … She said she would discuss the recycling center idea with the planning department in Quincy.”


However, Stoller has yet to hear back from the department.

“I also called Jennifer Atkins at Cal Recycle for an appointment, and traveled to Sacramento for a meeting with them,” to try to establish a working relationship with the company.

To add further complexity to the effort, “Fred Hawk Enterprises is doing the architectural drawing for us, and he forewarned us that the State of California is likely going to insist that I install a new driveway at the building location,” despite the fact that a permanent driveway is already in place, he said.

He said the reason given for a larger driveway is that Caltrans is worried about traffic stacking up at the building site once the proposed recycling business is open.

“We’re probably going to have some vehicles stacked up,” Stoller conceded, because it’s been almost a year since the citizens of Chester have had a place to deliver their recyclables.


Nevertheless, “Everything remains up in the air. I’m still waiting to know where I stand at this stage,” but added that, ”We’re at the point where we’re about to throw in the towel,” because they’re still waiting to receive approval from the county, Caltrans, the EPA and the water resources board.

At this point the bureaucracy seemed almost overwhelming to the Stollers. “We’re still waiting to get our sign, ‘Cal Recycle-C & N Production Recyclers’ approved!” he bemoaned.

Exasperated, Stoller said, “All we want really at this point is to get back what we invested and make a buck or two. … To be perfectly honest, if Caltrans requires that I install another paved driveway, we’re done.”

Recycling volunteer

Troy Dunker of Chester attended the regular ARPD board meeting April 9 to advance the idea of establishing a volunteer-operated community-recycling center, located in the ARPD building parking lot area next to the baseball field for CRV cans and plastic bottles, but not newsprint.


“I realized that the community had an issue: there was no place to recycle,” said Dunker. “And I know a lot of people, including myself, who just throw stuff away, taking it to the dump instead.”

Dunker said that he wanted to operate the recycling operation during the summer months, where collection bins — hopefully donated — could be brought in to collect recyclable items.

He also suggested at the meeting that he would be fine with taking the recyclables loaded into a trailer and personally delivered to Greenville or Susanville; both towns already have collection centers. The money raised would all be donated to the ARPD after expenses to help support its program initiatives and other needs such as maintenance, repairs and capital improvements.

Because the recycling would be entirely run by volunteers and not as a for-profit business, he didn’t think he would have to acquire a county business permit or deal with bureaucratic red tape.


Unfortunately, Dunker recently confided during a phone interview that he has found himself up against personal time constraints, which means he may have to wait until next year before pursuing the project further.

Recyclables no longer wanted

To make matters worse, the recycling industry isn’t what it used to be after the world’s largest overseas market for recyclables recently placed tough new barriers to what it would accept, wrote George Skelton of the LA Times.

China this year began barring “contaminated” material it once received from worldwide sources. And under China’s new rules, if something is 1/2 of 1 percent contaminated, it’s too impure for recycling.

“This policy change is already starting to have adverse impacts on California,” Cal Recycle declared in a company bulletin, “and is resulting in more material being stockpiled at solid waste facilities and recycling centers or disposed of in landfills.”

Even before the new rules took effect in China, nearly 1,000 recycling centers nationwide have closed in the last two years, about 40 percent of the total, leaving consumers in many communities with no local centers close enough to leave their bottles and redeem their deposits.


Editor’s Note: Christina Files, the information officer for the CalRecycle Office of Public Affairs, submitted the following clarifying comments for this article.

·The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) is a government agency, not a company. CalRecycle does not own any recycling centers in California. (The use of the CalRecycle logo in the Stollers’ business sign has not been authorized by CalRecycle.) Our role is to certify recycling center businesses to collect CRV materials and pay out CRV funds for eligible materials.
·CalRecycle does provide a wealth of information to potential recycling center operators at no cost. Those resources are found on our website. Although Nathan and Catherine Stoller have not, as Mr. Stoller claimed, met directly with CalRecycle’s Jennifer Akins (not Atkins, as reported in the story), he did have a phone conference with one of Ms. Akins’ staff members. The Stollers both have taken the free precertification training class offered by CalRecycle and passed the class. This class is a required step in becoming a certified CRV recycling business and the training is designed to prepare future operators to meet the certification requirements, adhere to program rules, and be better prepared for successful participation in the Beverage Container Recycling program.
·The training does not cover site specific requirements imposed by other entities (such as CalTrans requiring a new driveway). As a future business owner, it is incumbent upon the people involved to understand and comply with all business requirements.
· The Stollers have not submitted an application to become certified CRV recyclers with the Beverage Container Recycling Program. Once the application is received, the applicants will also have a meeting with CalRecycle staff to learn more about the program as well as provide information to support the application

Where to take recyclables

Chester Transfer Station: No CRV at this time, 3 Chester Dump Road, Hwy. 36 & A-13, 6 miles east of Chester.

Summer Hours (beginning April 1): Friday – Tuesday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Closed for lunch noon – 12:30 p.m. Closed Wednesday and Thursday.

Winter hours (beginning Dec. 1): Friday – Monday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Closed for lunch noon – 12:30 p.m. Closed Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday.

Delleker Recycling Center: No CRV at this time. Commercial customer recycling of corrugated cardboard only, 73980 Industrial Way.

Hours: Monday – Tuesday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Closed for lunch noon – 12:30 p.m.

Delleker Transfer Station: No CRV at this time, 73980 Industrial Way.

Hours: Saturday – Tuesday; 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Closed for lunch noon – 12:30 p.m. Closed Wednesday, Thursday, Friday.

East Quincy Recycling Center: No CRV at this time, 39 Abernethy Road.


Summer hours (beginning April 1): Friday – Tuesday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Closed for lunch noon – 12:30 p.m. Closed Wednesday and Thursday.

Winter hours (beginning Dec. 1): Friday – Monday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Closed for lunch noon – 12:30 p.m. Closed Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday.

Graeagle Transfer Station: No CRV at this time, 920 Blairsden-Graeagle Road.

Hours: Saturday – Sunday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Closed for lunch noon – 12:30 p.m. Closed Monday through Friday.

Greenville Transfer Station: CRV accepted, 300 Greenville Dump Road, past Alta camp Road going toward Canyon Dam — across from the campground on Hwy. 89).

Summer hours (beginning April 1): Friday – Tuesday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Closed for lunch noon – 12:30 p.m. Closed Wednesday and Thursday.

Winter hours (beginning Dec. 1): Friday – Monday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Closed for lunch noon – 12:30 p.m. Closed Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday.


All Transfer Stations are closed on the following holidays: New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Independence Day (July 4th), Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Items accepted at recycling centers

All plastic containers and bags stamped with the Society for the Plastics Industry (SPI) code #1 through #7.

Plastic containers and bags that are not stamped, but can clearly be identified as: PET, HDPE or polypropylene.

All other similar items that are mutually agreed upon by the county and the contractor(s): milk jugs, water bottles, detergent bottles and colored bottles — OK.

Glass containers of any color (including brown, blue, clear, and green). Beverage and food containers.

No window glass, mirrors or drinking glasses.

Beer and soda cans; Miscellaneous aluminum including food and beverage containers, foil, small pieces of scrap metal.

Mixed paper including office paper, computer paper, magazines, junk mail, catalogs, brown paper bags, paperboard, paper egg cartons, books, colored paper, construction paper, envelopes, legal pad backings, shoe boxes, cereal and other similar food boxes.


Newspapers, including inserts, coupons and store advertisements; corrugated cardboard; paper milk and juice cartons; phone books. Remove staples and paper clips.

Small pieces of scrap metal weighing less than 10 pounds and fitting into the targeted recyclable materials collection container, excluding chain, cable, wire, banding, hand tools and automotive parts.

Steel, tin or bi-metal containers, includes empty aerosol cans, dry paint cans, lids from jars, etc. Cleaned and labels removed.

Also accepted at transfer stations are the following: used motor oil, filters, antifreeze, batteries, scrap metal, cell phones and E-waste such as televisions and other consumer electronics

Items not accepted

Items that will NOT be accepted at Plumas County’s transfer stations and/or recycling centers as targeted recyclable materials include materials in bags, boxes or other containers (even if bags contain recyclable materials), microwave trays, mirrors, coat hangers, window or auto glass, light bulbs of any kind, ceramics or porcelain.

Unnumbered plastic containers that cannot be identified as PET, HDPE or polypropylene are not accepted.
Glass cookware or ovenware, household items such as cooking pots or toasters, wet fibers or fibers containing or having been in contact with food debris, any recyclable or piece of a recyclable less than 2 inches in its largest dimension.


Materials that pose a hazard to the public, or contain deleterious chemicals or substances, or have other hazardous properties that are capable of causing material damage to solid waste collection containers or equipment, or may materially impair the strength or durability of solid waste collection containers or equipment.

2 thoughts on “Reopening recycling center top of area list

  • Would it save the new potential owners money to attach there business to an already existing non-profit like Hospice does with Forget-Me-Nots. This would open up the avenue for grants for property improvements or other extra accrued expensive. Just a thought. Either way, I sure hope it works out.

  • what about the money collected by the state that beverage companies must charge to comply with CRV regulations? If the state is not paying out for the recycling efforts of many residents, where are the funds going and how much are we talking about? Who is in charge of the recycle program in Plumas County? It is hard to be a steward of the environment when people in charge apparently don’t do their part.

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