Assemblyman Devon Mathis hosted a press conference Friday in support of a Visalia recycling company he says the state is attempting to shut down. Photo by Ravyn Cullor
Written by Ravyn Cullor
Assemblyman Devon Mathis hosted a press conference Friday in support of a family-owned recycling company he says CalRecycle is attempting to shut down.
BC Recycling, headquartered in Visalia, has been caught up in accusations and appeals with CalRecycle — the state agency that regulates recycling — since 2018 and could face $1.7 million in fines, said Mathis, Adolfo Ramirez Sr, the owner, and his son.
“We’re here today because here in California we like to say we pride ourselves on helping immigrant families, immigrant businesses and helping the environment,” Mathis said. “What we’re seeing is Adolfo’s dream is being destroyed by CalRecycle by not helping him out.”
Mathis’ office said BC Recycling was accused of having another company, Resource Services Alliance (RSA), process a certain type of plastic used in food and beverage containers in 2014-15 and receiving improper reimbursement from that company.
BC Recycling denies those accusations.
RSA was shut down by CalRecycle in 2016 for allegedly fabricating weight tickets, which was unrelated to BC.
CalRecycle said BC Recycling was unable to provide “cancellation records” of plastic beverage and food containers, which is required by law to protect against fraud.
Mathis’ office said BC Recycling had processed the plastic itself and proved during a 2018 CalRecycle audit they were not engaged in fabricating weight tickets. His office also said there was cancellation paperwork provided to CalRecycle.
Mathis said BC Recycling had a contract with a bad actor and despite trying to take the appropriate action and fill out the correct paperwork, they aren’t receiving help from CalRecycle and haven’t been able to get a representative to visit their site.
“CalRecycle is not providing technical assistance,” Mathis said. “We have a company where literally English is a second language, where is the assistance?”
Adolfo Rameriz Sr. said he built BC Recycling from the back of a Volkswagen and has worked to do business within rules and regulations. After working with CalRecycle for 20 years, he said he felt hurt by how little help and guidance BC Recycling was receiving.
His son, Adolfo Rameriz Jr., said if they are unable to disprove the allegations and get the fines dropped, it would result in a “liquidation of everything we have.”
If BC were to close, Mathis and Rameriz Jr. said 14 immigrant families would be affected.
“We find ourselves today with a pretty big problem on our hands that we believe our government can help us with,” Rameriz Jr. said. “We want to continue providing services for communities where we’re basically the only ones there to serve.”
CalRecycle said they are not working to shut down BC Recycling and are trying to keep the facility as open as possible for consumers. They said they have a responsibility to prevent fraud in the Beverage Container Recycling Program and will use the full extent of the law to do so.
BC Recycling is on its third and final appeal with CalRecycle and, if the appeal is denied, the company will have to shut down. CalRecycle said there is an administrative appeal on Oct. 4.