America Recycles Day Alert: California Takes on the Recycling Slump with Upgrades that Fight Trash Pollution

Office of Public Affairs
For Immediate Release: November 15, 2021
News Release #2021-08
Media Contact: Office of Public Affairs, Lance Klug
916-341-6293 |

SACRAMENTO–Every year, California discards enough plastic to fill 80,000 Olympic-sized pools. In response to a lagging statewide recycling rate and rising public concern about this surge of single-use trash polluting our neighborhoods and ocean, California is modernizing its recycling system to expand reuse and in-state remanufacturing.

California recycling innovations include seven recently passed laws, new ways to redeem bottles and cans, the launch of food and yard waste recycling and $270 million in new investments to move away from our disposable economy by incentivizing businesses that design products to be used again instead of thrown away.

“California can ensure that our waste is recycled by remanufacturing it right here in our state,” CalRecycle Director Rachel Machi Wagoner said. “The solution to trash pollution in our oceans and communities is innovating – building a circular economy together.”

In addition to cutting waste and trash pollution, remaking more products locally will also cut the high climate footprint and supply chain challenges related to shipping recycled materials and manufactured items overseas.

As the nation marks America Recycles Day 2021, California marks historic actions to reverse the state’s recycling slump through:

$270 million in upgrades for a circular use, recycling economy

California’s $270 million investment in modernized recycling systems includes:

7 new laws to cut single-use trash pollution

Last month, Governor Newsom signed laws to move California to a more circular economy through more informed consumer choice and greater industry accountability:

Updating bottle and can recycling

Californians recycled over 426 billion bottles and cans since the Bottle Bill passed in 1986. In the face of market changes for recyclables and local challenges, communities can now customize their takeback methods to meet local needs with Beverage Container Recycling Pilot Projects. Existing pilot projects include:

  • Culver City: Mobile truck parks in different areas on alternate days paying cash.
  • Irvine: At-home pickup mails payments after processing CRV.
  • San Francisco: Includes bag drop-off sites with later payment, mobile and permanent recycling centers.
  • San Mateo County: 3 fixed CRV takeback sites with limited hours in 3 cities.
  • Sonoma County: CRV bag drop-off sites with later payment in 6 cities.

The biggest change to recycling since it started in the 1980s

Food, yard and other organic waste make up 56% of everything California throws away. Organics in landfills are a top source of climate super pollutants in the state. To reduce landfill methane emissions, starting Jan. 1, 2022, cities and counties must:

Food and yard waste recycling will create about 17,600 jobs and build a multi-billion renewable industry.

For more information contact, the Office of Public Affairs,

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CalRecycle provides oversight of California solid waste handling and recycling programs to protect human health, develop sustainable solutions that conserve resources, and reduce greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.