The California State Senate has approved legislation that would crack down on theft of recyclables such as newspapers and California redemption value (CRV) containers, which include aluminum cans, and plastic and glass bottles. The bill, AB 1778, would require junk dealers and recyclers to pay by check and obtain identifying information from people who turn in more than $100 worth of CRV containers or $50 worth of newspapers.

If signed by the governor, the law would go into effect Jan. 1, 2009. Violations of this law would subject dealers or recyclers to fines up to $5,000.

The California Chronicle reports that the bill has met vigorous opposition from recyclers who fought the record keeping requirements. "These recycling raiders must be brought out from the shadows," Assemblywoman Fiona Ma told the paper. "Assembly Bill 1778 restores order to neighborhoods that are trashed in the middle of the night. With the price of recycled materials on the rise, recycling theft has become a lucrative business. I am hopeful that this bill, which is so important to improving recycling programs, will be signed by the Governor."