New rule simplifies payment at redemption centers in California
Non-redemption beverage containers may no longer be commingled for refunds
As part of the California’s ongoing efforts to improve recycling efforts and ensure the Beverage Container Recycling Fund’s fiscal integrity, consumer loads of California Redemption Value (CRV) beverage containers that include non-CRV material will no longer be eligible for refunds at recycling centers. This change became effective November 1, 2013. The updated rule, signed into law by Governor Brown, eliminates the “commingled” per-pound payment rate that is somewhat lower than the CRV-only rate.
Since 1987, consumers have been able to include non-CRV containers with CRV-eligible containers when bringing recyclables to recycling centers for redemption. The commingled rate recognized consumers’ bundled containers could include non-CRV items such as milk jugs, wine and distilled spirits bottles, and food containers in loads of CRV materials. As such, consumers bringing so-called “commingled loads” to recycling centers received a reduced rate per pound.
In addition to giving the consumer a lower net payment for their recycling, the commingled rate risked CRV payments for commingled loads that included minimal CRV-eligible materials.
Recycling facilities that currently offer consumers the commingled rate for mixed loads will only be allowed to pay scrap value for the non-CRV materials. Most consumers who redeem their empty bottles and cans at recycling centers will not notice a change, since many of those businesses already accept only CRV materials. Starting in November, this change will ensure only CRV-eligible containers are redeemed for their redemption value.
“This much-needed revision to CRV refund options will simplify transactions for consumers and recycling centers alike,” said Caroll Mortensen, director of the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle), which administers the state’s beverage container recycling program.
Consumers are still able to redeem containers by count, rather than weight, for up to 50 CRV beverage containers of each material type, per day. Consumers are encouraged to recycle non-CRV beverage containers for scrap value at recycling centers that will accept the material, or through their residential curbside or multi-family dwelling recycling programs.
Most beverages packaged in aluminum, glass and plastic, such as soda, beer and water, are subject at the checkout stand to CRV of $.05 for containers less than 24 ounces and $.10 for containers 24 ounces or larger. Notable exceptions are milk, wine, distilled spirits and medical foods. These products’ containers are not charged a redemption value at the point of sale. Consumers can redeem eligible bottles and cans at more than 2,500 recycling centers statewide. Consumer information on what is included in the CRV program and where to take bottles and cans for redemption is available on the CalRecycle website or by calling 1-800-RECYCLE.
Over the coming months CalRecycle will be undertaking additional changes to improve the program and protect the fiscal stability of the Beverage Container Recycling Fund, such as enhanced training of recycling center owners and adoption of regulations that will reduce the number of containers an individual can bring to a recycling center in a single day.
CalRecycle also has pending regulations to implement a state law requiring importers of out-of-state containers to enter the state through California Department of Food and Agriculture inspection stations, provide personal identification at the station, and specify where they are taking the containers.