In the seventh season of the NBC sitcom Seinfeld, Newman and Kramer concoct a scheme to collect a truckload of recyclable beverage containers to drive them from NYC to Michigan to collect the ten cent deposit. (The bottle deposit in New York is only five cents)

Eventually, their plan falls apart after a hilarious string of wacky events.

Fast forward 20 years and reality is imitating fiction. Two men were arrested for trying to smuggle $20000 worth of beverage containers with the intent to illegally collect the deposits in California.


Balmore Alvarado was found driving a truck March 14 with 7,020 pounds of used beverage containers worth about $10,275, officials said.

On March 16, Anthony Sanchez was found with a truck filled with 7,675 pounds of drink containers with a value of $9,636, officials said.

The California Refund Value program pays 5 and 10 cents depending on the size of each empty container. The program offers cash for aluminum cans, plastic and glass bottles.

Alvarado and Sanchez were arrested and charged with felony recycling fraud, attempted grand theft, filing a false or forged document, and conspiracy, officials said.

Apparently Balmore and Anthony (or Kramer and Newman) were caught during a five day sting operation. California conducts sting operations for illegal recycling?

Who knew?