Name California Beverage Container Recycling and Litter Reduction Act (AB 2020)
Purpose To encourage recycling and reduce litter; Program goal of 80% recycling rate
Enacted 9/29/1986
Implemented 9/1/1987
Beverages Covered beer, malt, wine & distilled spirits coolers, all non-alcoholic beverages, except milk. Excludes vegetable juices over 16oz.
Containers Covered Aluminum. glass, plastic and bi-metal. Exempts refillables
Amount of Deposit (5¢: under 24oz.) and (10¢: 24oz. and greater)
Reclamation System State certified recyclers include redemption centers, registered curbside operations, dropoffs
Unredeemed Deposits Property of program: used for program administration program payments and grants.
Handling Fee

Handling Fees paid by state to supermarket sites, nonprofit convenience zone recyclers, and rural region recyclers. .890¢(b)

Other Fees

Processing Fees (paid by beverage manufactorers to the Department, per container sold)[s]
#1 PET:$0.00000
#2 HDPE:$0.00213
#3 PVC:$0.01194
#4 LDPE:$0.01082
#5 PP:$0.04727
#6 PS:$0.00227
#7 Other Plastic:$0.07353

Processing Payments (made to all certified recyclers when the cost of recycling exceeds the value of material, per pound redeemed.)[p][s]
Glass: $0.04413
#1 PET : $0.00000
#2 HDPE: $0.14497
#3 PVC: $0.49048
#4 LDPE: $0.62433
#5 PP: $0.64723
#6 PS: $0.39326
#7 Other Plastic: $0.41854
Bimetal: $0.39883

Program success 2011 recycling rates (January–December):[a]
Overall 82%
aluminum 97%,
glass 84%
#1 PET 67%
#2 HDPE 104%
#3 PVC 15%
#4 LDPE 1%
#5 PP 3%
#6 PS 10%
#7 other 7%
bimetal 16%


  1. Distributors pay a per container fee (CRV) of 5¢ <24 oz and 10¢ >24 oz into a state fund. (The fee was originally 1¢ for all containers and was amended in 1990 to 2.5¢<24 oz and 5¢>24 oz, in 2003 to 4¢ and 8¢, and in 2007 to 5 and 10¢.)
  2. Consumers pay a deposit of 5¢ for each container < 24 ounces and 10¢ for each container >24 ounces.
  3. In turn, they receive a refund of 5¢ for each container of less than 24 ounces redeemed, and 10¢ for each container of 24 ounces or greater redeemed.

Consumers have the right to be paid per container when bringing in 50 (fifty) containers or less in a single load. Some recyclers, at their discretion, may redeem more than 50 containers by count. If the recycler declines to pay by count for >50 containers presented per visit, payment is based on the weight of the materials delivered for redemption.

Handling fees are paid to the operators of supermarket redemption sites only, to help cover the costs of operating a redemption system at those locations. Handling fees are calculated every 2 years, by subtracting the cost per container (for recycling centers that do not receive handling fees) from the costs per container of those that do receive handling fees.

Processing payments are paid to all redemption centers and to curbside programs to help cover the costs of recycling materials with a low scrap value. Processing Payment amounts vary by container type and are determined annually, based on based on audited data and scrap market prices. Part of the processing payments are supplied by distributors' processing fees, but the majority of processing payments come from unredeemed deposits. Unredeemed deposits are also used to administer the system and fund education programs.

Processing Fee amounts are a specific percentage of the Processing Payment, determined based on the recycling rate of the container type. Beverage distributors pay the "processing fee" into the recycling fund.[p]

Program success

Since implementation of the deposit program, California's beverage container recycling rates have increased significantly, from an overall 52% in 1988 to 82% in 2011. In the six years from 2006 to 2011 alone, the program has increased recycling from 13 billion containers per year to over 16.7 billion containers per year.[a] Because California is so large, that increase, of 3.7 billion containers, has an impact on the nation’s beverage container recycling rate as well. Those 3.7 billion containers are nearly 1.7% of the nation’s 224 billion containers that are consumed annually.


[a] Source: CalRecycle. "Biannual Report of Beverage Container Sales, Returns, Redemption & Recycling Rates" May 9th, 2011.

[b] Source: CalRecycle. "Handling Fee Changes, Effective July 1, 2011” August 1, 2011

[p] Source: California Beverage Container Recycling and Litter Reduction Act, Section 14575

[s] Source: Calrecycle. "2012 Processing Fees." December 15, 2011.

Calrecycle. "Quarterly Report on Status of the Beverage Container Recycling Fund" July 16, 2012.



March 13, 2014

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