Governor Newsom signed into law Assembly Bill 793 (Ting and Irwin, Chapter 115, Statutes of 2020) on September 24, 2020, which establishes recycled content standards for plastic beverage containers subject to the California Refund Value (CRV). The law requires a postconsumer plastic recycled content standard of 15 percent beginning January 1, 2022, increasing to 25 percent on 2025 and 50 percent on 2030.
The law will help improve the market for recycled plastic by increasing the demand, thus increasing the scrap value of the material for recycling centers operating in the Beverage Container Recycling Program BCRP.
Non-compliant beverage manufacturers will be assessed penalties that will be deposited into the Recycling Enhancement Penalty Account. Funds from this account could be used, subject to appropriation by the Legislature, to support the recycling, infrastructure, collection, and processing of plastic beverage containers in the state. If the Legislature makes an appropriation for this purpose before June 15, 2027, CalRecycle may conduct a study of plastic markets.
In addition, the law requires plastic material reclaimers to report empty plastic beverage containers collected and sold. It also requires manufacturers of postconsumer recycled plastic to report the amount of food-grade and bottle-grade plastic material sold in the state.
CalRecycle is developing regulations to implement AB 793. CalRecycle conducted workshops on December 2, 2020 to receive questions and comments and on April 29, 2021 to present preliminary draft regulations. CalRecycle presented another workshop on August 25, 2021 to solicit feedback from interested parties and to present preliminary draft regulations. A copy of the most recent draft regulations can be found here. Please keep in mind that these regulations are still in development and subject to change.
To receive updates, including notices regarding workshops and rulemaking, please subscribe to the Beverage Container Recycling Program General Listserv.
Beverage Manufacturer Information
- AB 793 requirements apply only to plastic beverage containers.
- Beverage manufacturers are exempt from AB 793 if they pay $15,000 or less in processing fees annually. CalRecycle will determine if a beverage manufacturer meets the requirements of PRC §14575(g)(3)(A) and is exempt.
- On January 1, 2022, beverage manufacturers are required to utilize at least 15 percent recycled plastic.
- Beginning January 1, 2023 , beverage manufacturers that do not meet the minimum content requirements are subject to annual administrative penalties. Penalties will be assessed beginning March 1, 2024 for non-compliance.
- On January 1, 2025, beverage manufacturers are required to utilize at least 25 percent recycled plastic.
- On January 1, 2030, beverage manufacturers are required to utilize at least 50 percent recycled plastic.
Enforcement and Penalties
- Penalties will be calculated at a rate of $0.20 per pound based on the shortfall of recycled content used compared to the minimum content requirement.
- Beverage manufacturers may pay penalties in quarterly installments or arrange an alternative payment schedule.
- Beverage manufacturers who fail to meet the minimum content standard may submit a corrective action plan detailing the reasons they failed, or will fail, to meet the minimum recycled content standard and how they plan to meet the standard in the future. The penalties assessed on the beverage manufacturer may be reduced if CalRecycle approves the corrective action plan.
Plastic Material Reclaimer Information
- On or before March 1, 2024, and annually thereafter, a plastic material reclaimer shall report to CalRecycle the amount in pounds and by resin type of empty plastic CRV beverage containers that the plastic material reclaimer has collected and sold in the previous calendar year.
- On or before March 1, 2024, and annually thereafter, a manufacturer of postconsumer recycled plastic shall report to CalRecycle the amount in pounds in food-grade flake, pellet, sheet, fines or other forms that were sold in the previous calendar year and their capacity to produce food-grade material. This report shall include the amount of material that meets bottle-grade specifications.
Frequently Asked Questions
- When is the minimum content report due?
The report is due March 1st each year for the previous calendar year. The PRC §14549.3 requirement for beverage manufacturers to annually report virgin plastic and postconsumer recycled plastic usage has not changed. AB 793 amends the law to require reporting by pounds and resin type.
The 15% minimum content standard is effective on January 1, 2022. This reporting period will be reflected on the 2023 calendar year report.
- Where can I find the minimum content report form?
CalRecycle provides a suggested form as the Department believes that it complies with the requirements of PRC §14549.3.
- Are beverage manufacturers who meet the requirements of PRC Section 14575(g)(3)(A), required to complete the minimum content report?
Yes, they are required to report March 1st of every year but do not have to meet the minimum content requirement.
- What is meant by “a beverage”? To whom do the minimum recycled content requirements apply? Manufacturers, brands, distributors, others? Do the requirements speak to both sales in the state as well as products manufactured in the state?
A beverage is defined in PRC §14504. A beverage manufacturer is defined in PRC §14506 as any person who bottles, cans, or otherwise fills beverage containers, or imports filled beverage containers, for sale to distributors, dealers, or consumers. If you are uncertain if you meet the definition of a beverage manufacturer or if your beverage is subject to CRV, please contact our Registration Unit via phone at (916) 323-1835 or via email at email@example.com.
- Can post-industrial recycled material be used instead of PCR material?
PRC §14547 requires a postconsumer recycled plastic minimum content standard.
- Does the average PCR requirement target apply to bottles manufactured in California, filled in California, or to bottles sold at points of sale in California regardless of where they are made and filled?
The plastic minimum content reporting requirements apply to all plastic beverage containers sold in California that are subject to the California Redemption Value (CRV).
PRC §14506 defines “Beverage manufacturer” as any person who bottles, cans, or otherwise fills beverage containers, or imports filled beverage containers, for sale to distributors, dealers, or consumers. If you do not know if you are a beverage manufacturer or whether your plastic beverage containers are subject to CRV, please contact the Division of Recycling Registration Unit at (916) 323-1835 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- How long must the beverage manufacturer keep PCR documentation?
Per regulation (CCR §2085(b)) beverage manufacturers are required to retain documents for at least five years.
- Does the average content requirement mean that a company can plan on higher PCR content for certain types of containers but less, or even zero, in the case of others, and still comply if the overall PCR content across its sales average 15% PCR content?
The total number of plastic beverage containers, on average, must contain no less than the minimum content standard of postconsumer recycled plastic per year, based on the aggregate.
- If my postconsumer minimum content is slightly below the minimum content requirement, could this be rounded up?
No. PRC §14547 establishes a standard for postconsumer recycled minimum content in plastic beverage containers.
Comments and questions about AB 793 may be submitted via email to MarketInformation@CalRecycle.ca.gov. Comments may also be submitted to:
Recycling Operations Division
California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery
801 K Street, MS 17-24
Sacramento, CA 95814