Local jurisdictions can apply now to turn their recycling deserts into hubs for convenient bottle and can redemption with California’s Beverage Container Recycling Pilot Project Program. Not bound by the old rules of recycling, pilot projects allow more flexible operating requirements and customized redemption programs designed to meet a region’s unique needs.
Now Available: 5 New Pilot Projects and $10 Million in Funding
Encouraged by previously approved local pilots featuring at-home pickup service, bag-drop redemption and mobile recycling, Governor Gavin Newsom and the Legislature expanded the state’s Beverage Container Recycling Pilot Program under the fiscal year 2021-2022 budget. The expansion:
- Approved 5 additional local pilot programs.
- Extended the current Pilot Program end date to June 30, 2026.
- Allocated an additional $10 million to support local pilots.
Cities and counties can:
- Apply for their own pilot.
- Join pilot projects already running or,
- Partner with other communities to form a regional pilot project jurisdiction.
- Obtain maps of potential pilot project service areas.
- Get assistance to complete application documents.
- Prepare a pilot program work plan and budget for CalRecycle approval.
- CalRecycle’s September 2021 webinar outlining eligibility requirements, funding assistance and the application/certification process for California’s Beverage Container Recycling Pilot Project Program.
YouTube (1:52:19) | Transcript
Existing Pilot Projects Increase Convenience in 12 California Cities
Under previous legislation (Senate Bill 458, Wiener, Chapter 648, Statutes of 2017 and Assembly Bill 54, Ting, Chapter 793, Statutes of 2019), CalRecycle approved 5 pilots to boost consumer redemption access in the following communities:
Culver City’s Pilot Program: A mobile truck parks in different areas on different days, giving immediate cash payments.
Irvine’s Pilot Program: At-home pickup mails payments after processing CRV.
Bag Drop-Off, Mobile Recycling and More
San Francisco’s Pilot Program: Multiple methods, including bag drop sites with later payment, mobile centers and permanent recycling centers.
New Fixed Locations With Limited Hours
San Mateo County’s Pilot Program: 3 fixed CRV takeback locations with limited hours and on-site cash payments in 3 cities in San Mateo County.
- This regional partnership includes the City of Daly City, the City of Half Moon Bay, and the County of San Mateo (unincorporated).
Sonoma County’s Pilot Program: CRV bag drop sites with later processing and payment in 6 cities in Sonoma County.
- This regional partnership includes the cities of Santa Rosa, Petaluma, Sonoma, Sebastopol, Healdsburg, and Cloverdale.
California’s Beverage Container Recycling and Litter Reduction Act of 1986
Californians recycled over 426 billion bottles and cans since the start of the California Beverage Container Recycling and Litter Reduction Act of 1986.
Consumers pay California Redemption Value (CRV) when they purchase eligible beverages from a retailer. They receive CRV refunds when they redeem the containers at a state certified recycling center or obligated beverage retailer.
- 5 cents for eligible containers less than 24 ounces.
- 10 cents for eligible containers 24 oz. or more.
California’s Beverage Container Recycling Pilot Program
The Beverage Container Recycling Pilot Program aims to increase the convenience of recycling in underserved areas by allowing greater flexibility for how recycling centers choose to redeem beverage containers.
- Senate Bill 458 (Wiener, Chapter 648, Statutes of 2017) authorized CalRecycle to approve up to five pilot projects proposed by jurisdictions to provide convenient beverage container redemption in both urban and rural areas that do not have enough recycling opportunities.
- Assembly Bill 54 (Ting, Chapter 793, Statutes of 2019) made changes to the program (SB 458) to allow for greater flexibility and to provide funding to support pilot projects.
Eligible jurisdictions must meet at least one of the following criteria as of the effective date of the pilot project application:
- Had at least 6 unserved convenience zones.
- Had at least 75 percent of all convenience zones unserved.
- Was located in a region designated as "rural."
Eligible proposed pilot project must serve at least one of the following:
- At least 3 unserved convenience zones.
- One or more convenience zone impacting at least 30 dealers.
- A rural region.
Once pilot programs commence, all convenience zones within the program’s area will be considered served, relieving CRV dealers of their obligation to either redeem containers in-store or pay a $100-per-day fee.
Pilot Project Recyclers
Pilot project recyclers must work with the approved jurisdictions and receive certification from CalRecycle.
- A pilot project in a city/county could include more than one site, pilot project recycler, or approach.
- Compared to traditional certifications, pilot project recyclers have additional flexibility, including reduced hours of operation, more flexible consumer payment methods or alternative methods of redemption, such as stationary drop-off locations or mobile collection programs.
- In addition to CRV reimbursement, recyclers operating within a pilot project may be eligible for other program payments:
- Handling fees, paid on a per-container basis, to pilot project recyclers.
- Processing payments, paid on a per-pound basis, to program operators to help cover the costs of collecting and recycling materials that would not otherwise be economic to handle.