Proposed bonus credits would double recycling refunds to get surplus bottle and can deposits back to Californians

Office of Public Affairs
For Immediate Release: April 1, 2022
News Release #2022-03
Media Contact: Lance Klug
916-341-6293 | lance.klug@calrecycle.ca.gov

SACRAMENTO – A new plan could bring Californians an extra $100 million in bonus recycling credits and direct $155 million to expand mobile recycling and reverse vending machine locations for consumers to cash in their bottles and cans. The budget proposal would boost redemptions and expand recycling sites using $330 million of surplus unredeemed container deposits that grew with a record increase in beverage purchases during the pandemic.

“This surplus belongs to California consumers and we want to get that money back in their pockets through bonus recycling credits and more convenient redemption options,” CalRecycle Director Rachel Machi Wagoner said. “These targeted investments would create more chances to recycle in areas without recycling centers and offer double California Redemption Value (CRV) refunds to get surplus deposits back to Californians.”

Pandemic beverage sales spike continues to break records

Californians recycled 18.5 billion bottles and cans from July 2020 through June 2021, a roughly 800 million container increase from the previous fiscal year. But sales grew even more during that time as people continued to consume more beverages at home. The new $330 million proposal would use various strategies to reach unserved areas, provide more ways to redeem and offer bonus recycling credits for Californians to cash in their unredeemed bottles and cans

The plan includes:

  • $55 million to boost returns in rural and underserved communities with state-funded mobile recycling programs.
  • $100 million to add about 2,000 reverse vending machines through grants to high schools, colleges and retailers that are obligated to redeem containers in-store.
  • $100 million to double consumer refunds with bonus recycling credits once new mobile recycling and reverse vending machine programs are in place.
  • $50 million to maximize the quality of recycled beverage containers to help more get recycled into new beverage containers, required by AB 793 (Ting, Irwin of 2020).
  • $25 million for new infrastructure and technology to support redemptions and administration costs.

“Californians want to recycle and they’re doing their part with the return of 18.5 billion bottles and cans last (fiscal) year. That’s a nearly 70 percent recycling rate,” Director Rachel Machi Wagoner said. “We can get closer to 100 percent recycling by giving Californians more redemption options and new opportunities to succeed.”

Additional details were made available today upon release of the Administration’s Spring Finance Letters from the Department of Finance. The Legislature will have the opportunity over the next few months to review this proposal and collaborate with the Administration during the ongoing budget enactment process.

Beverage Container Recycling is a Key to Building California’s Circular Economy

Maximizing the reuse and recycling of all materials sold in California is vital to the state’s larger effort to build a clean, circular-use economy in California. On top of creating new redemption opportunities and jobs across the state, the $330 million in investments of surplus container deposits will help California:

  • Meet its 80 percent beverage container recycling goal.
  • Provide clean materials to help reach the state’s recycled glass and plastic minimum content goals.

By ensuring that products sold in our state can be collected, recycled and remanufactured in our state, California can meet its waste reduction and climate goals while bringing more green jobs and green industries to our local communities.

At a Glance: California’s Beverage Container Recycling Program

The Beverage Container Recycling and Litter Reduction Act of 1986 set a financial value on beverage containers to encourage recycling and reduce litter.

  • Californians have recycled more than 445 billion bottles and cans since 1986.
  • Californians recycled 18 billion (68 percent) CRV beverage containers in 2020.
  • AB 1311 (Wood, 2021) provides more flexibility for recyclers to add new ways to redeems and allow more flexible operating rules to help regional challenges.
  • Local pilot projects allow communities to design customized takeback programs to meet their region’s unique needs.
  • California set the highest plastic minimum recycled content goals in the world, requiring 50 percent recycled plastic in new containers by 2030.

Locate the nearest certified recycling centers or retailers required to redeem CRV deposits in-store. Report issues redeeming CRV at 1-800-RECYCLE or complaints@calrecycle.ca.gov.


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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.