Convenience Zones

A convenience zone is typically a one-mile radius circle with the center point at a supermarket that:

  • Is in the Progressive Grocer Marketing Guidebook.
  • Has gross annual sales of $2 million or more.
  • Is considered a full-line self-service retail store that sells a line of dry grocery items, canned goods, non-food items, and perishable items.

[From PRC 14509.4 and PRC 14562.5]

Convenience Zones and Recycling Centers

Convenience zones provide more local places where Californians can redeem beverage containers.

  • By law, there must be at least one certified recycling center that can redeem all CRV containers in a convenience zone’s radius unless other conditions are met.
  • One recycling center in a convenience zone means it is a served zone.

Anyone may petition the department to request that a convenience zone be expanded beyond one mile if it is both:

  1. Located in a rural region, and
  2. Would include in its expanded radius only one recycling center that is not in any other zone.

Identifying and Activating Convenience Zones

CalRecycle staff review all documentation, including PGG and location data, to determine if the business meets the definition of a supermarket.

Supermarkets that set a convenience zone are identified using:

  • The Progressive Grocer Marketing Guide (PGG)
  • Corporate Store Lists
  • Stakeholder Notification

Supermarkets that set a convenience zone are activated at CalRecycle’s discretion:

  • Usually January 1st
  • Sometimes more are added on July 1st

Notification of newly activated convenience zones and their status is posted on the CalRecycle website after activation. 

Can Multiple Overlapping Convenience Zones Be Served by a Single Recycling Center?

Yes. Overlapping convenience zones are common in urban areas.

If a recycling center is located in a convenience zone, where one or more convenience zones overlap, each of these zones is served by this recycling center. 

How Do Expanded Zones in Rural Regions Work?

Zones can only be expanded in a rural area to allow a nearby recycling center to serve the expanded zone. Then dealers would not be obligated to redeem.

Expanding the zone might also allow the recycling center to receive handling fees.

There are two ways to expand convenience zones in rural regions:

1. Supermarket-Based Expanded Zone (Up to 5 Mile Radius)

  • An interested party must petition CalRecycle to have the zone reviewed for possible expansion.
  • There must be only one recycling center in the expanded zone.
  • If there are multiple zones, only one zone needs to expand to include the sole recycling center.
  • The expanded zone needs to:
    • Be at least partially in a rural region and
    • Contain a rural region recycler
  • Expanding the zone is not permanent. The zone returns to the original one-mile radius if:
    • Another recycling center opens in the radius or
    • If map updates indicate that the area is no longer rural

2. Dealer Aggregate Expanded Zone (3 Mile Radius)

  • An interested party must petition CalRecycle to have the zone reviewed for possible expansion.
  • The zone can only have one recycling center.
  • There must be at least two beverage dealers within three miles of the rural region recycling center.
    • These dealers must be within a mile of each other.
    • The qualifying dealers must have at least $2 million in combined gross annual sales.
  • The dealer closest to the recycling center will be designated as the center of the expanded zone.
  • The expanded zone needs to be at least partially in a rural region and contain a rural region recycler.
  • The expansion of the zone is not permanent, and the zone shall be returned to its original 1-mile radius if:
    • Another recycling center opens within the 3-mile radius, or
    • A new convenience zone opens within the expanded zone or
    • Map updates show the area is no longer rural.


Are Recycling Centers in Convenience Zones Always Located at the Supermarket That Creates the Convenience Zone?

No. A recycling center can serve as a convenience zone by being anywhere in the supermarket’s radius. 

Why Do Some Supermarkets Not Create Convenience Zones?

While most major supermarkets create convenience zones, CalRecycle may not recognize some supermarkets as creating convenience zones either because:

  • The supermarket does not meet this law’s definition. This may include:
    • Not being identified in the Progressive Grocer Marketing Guide
    • Not meeting the minimum sales volume
    • Not selling the full line of goods defined in the law
  • The supermarket was recently identified and the convenience zone will soon be activated.

What Happens if the Supermarket that Creates a Convenience Zone Closes, and Can a Deactivated Convenience Zone Become Reactivated?

CalRecycle will deactivate a convenience zone if the supermarket creating the convenience zone closes.

Reactivating a convenience zone occurs when a new supermarket opens:

  • At the same location,
  • With the same physical address as a deactivated convenience zone,
  • Which has met all supermarket criteria.

Reactivated convenience zones are included in the annual activation.

Exemption and Revocation Process

A convenience zone may be exempt from having a recycling center in its radius if it meets one or more mandated conditions:

  • It is a reasonable distance to next closest recycling center
  • Consumers in the area predominantly use curbside programs for recycling or
  • Recycling centers in the area historically fail to meet a sufficient volume for economic viability

[PRC 14571.8]

Convenience zones are reviewed for exemption for the following reasons:

  • The only recycling center in the convenience zone closes.
  • A convenience zone is newly activated and is not served by a recycling center.
  • A review is initiated by CalRecycle.
  • An exemption application is received.


CalRecycle may revoke convenience zone exemption if the conditions for the exemption change. CalRecycle:

  • May initiate a revocation based on decreased convenience where conditions warranting exemption are no longer met, or
  • Receives a revocation application.

Get further information on the exemption and revocation processes by contacting Convenience Zone Exemptions at (916) 341-6201 or at