American Recycler News, Inc.


CalRecycle sets new limits on container volumes

California has taken another step in the state’s concerted efforts to combat fraud in its beverage container recycling program.

Revised regulations effective January 1, 2014, significantly reduce the volume of California Redemption Value bottles and cans an individual can redeem at recycling centers in a single day. As a result, importers of out-of-state containers, which are not eligible for CRV refunds, and scavenger fleets illegally removing the contents of residential curbside recycling bins will find it considerably more time-consuming and risky to reap any ill-gotten gains.

The change is the latest salvo in the state’s vigorous effort to thwart beverage container recycling fraud.

The new per-person, per-day limits are 100 lbs. of aluminum or plastic CRV-eligible containers, and 1,000 lbs. of CRV glass. Previously, the limits were 500 lbs. of aluminum or plastic, and 2,500 lbs. of glass. Aluminum and plastic, due to their relatively light weight, are the most common materials found in truckloads brought across California’s borders for illegal redemption.

For the vast majority of consumers, the change will not be noticeable. CalRecycle research indicates more than 99 percent of all transactions are for less than 80 lbs. of aluminum, while the average weight is 8.7 lbs. For clear plastic bottles, nearly 99 percent of transactions are for less than 80 lbs., and the average is 11.6 lbs.

CalRecycle is undertaking a major and multipronged effort to protect the state’s beverage container recycling fund. Much of the emphasis is on preventing fraud before it occurs. In addition to the new load limits, two other program changes are pending. One such change would enhance training of recycling center operators. The other supports a new state law requiring importers of out-of-state containers to enter California through CDFA agricultural inspection stations and comply with stringent reporting and inspection requirements that include providing personal identification at the station and specifying the destination in California where they are taking the containers.