Recycling 101: Refresher Course

There’s no denying it. People are using way more bottles and cans than ever before. Recycling them creates new products, conserves natural resources, reduces energy use, and curbs carbon emissions in the sky. Sure beats letting them spend the next few centuries just sitting in a landfill.

Plainly, recycling is more important than ever.
Fortunately, doing the right thing is easy–and it can make you money. There are more than 1,500 recycling centers that offer cash refunds all across the state. Many communities also have curbside recycling. Commercial businesses (and multifamily residential dwellings of five units or more) are now required by law (AB 341, Chapter 476, Statutes of 2011) to arrange for recycling services if they generate more than four cubic yards of commercial solid waste. And if your office, school or gym doesn’t have a recycling program, we’ll give you the simple tools you’ll need to start one.

Recycling Basics

What. Almost every bottle and can you use can be recycled. Look at the label for the universal recycle symbol and the words CA CASH REFUND or CA CRV.* Containers with these markings are good to go in your curbside bin and will be accepted at the recycling center. For more information about the CRV program, check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

*Other acceptable labels include “California Redemption Value,” “CA Redemption Value” or “California Cash Refund.” You get the idea.

How. It’s easy to add recycling to your daily routine. Many Californians have curbside recycling available. If so, you probably already have a bin. Not sure? Contact your local public works or environmental services office to find out. Otherwise, any box or trash can makes an excellent recycling bin. There’s no need to wash or crush your recyclables. Just separate your aluminum, glass, and plastic containers in different bags or bins, and head for the recycling center. And again, if you need more info, be sure to read our Frequently Asked Questions.

Where. Look for bins anywhere you live, work or play. And there are approximately 2,000 recycling centers across the state that will redeem the California Refund Value on your bottles and cans–use the recycling center locator to find the centers near you.

Why. Because there’s money in it for you! In addition to saving energy, natural resources, and preventing carbon dioxide from being released into the air, bringing bottles and cans to the recycling center will put cash in your pocket.

For more information contact: Beverage Container Program,