|Name||California Beverage Container Recycling and Litter Reduction Act (AB 2020)|
|Purpose||To encourage recycling and reduce litter. Program goal of 80% recycling rate.|
|Regulations||California Public Resources Code, Division 12.1|
|Beverages Covered||Beer, malt, wine coolers & distilled spirits coolers, all non-alcoholic beverages, except milk. Excludes vegetable juices over 16 oz.|
|Beverages Not Covered||
Milk, 100% fruit juice ≥46 oz, vegetable juice ≥ 16 oz; beverages in refillable containers.
|Containers Covered||Aluminum, glass, plastic and bi-metal. Exempts refillables.|
|Amount of Deposit||5¢ for containers under 24 ounces; 10¢ for containers of 24 ounces or more.|
|Reclamation System||State-certified recyclers include redemption centers, registered curbside operations, dropoff sites, and retailers (see "Retail redemption" section below).|
|Unredeemed Deposits||Property of state program (CalRecycle): used for program administration, program payments, and grants.|
|Handling Fees||Handling fees are paid by CalRecycle to specific handling fee sites. Handling fee effective July 1, 2020 is $0.00950 per beverage container redeemed [a].|
* Returned for refund at recycling centers and supermarket sites; excludes CRV containers recycled through curbside and dropoff programs.
**Figures above are derived by multiplying fiscal year material-specific recycling rates [e] by calendar year material-specific weight-based participant shares for recycling centers and supermarkets [f].
***Overall redemption rate is the FY overall recycling rate multiplied by calendar year material-specific unit-based participant shares ("CRV out") [f].
- 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 it was amended again to 4¢ and 8¢ respectively, and in 2007 to 5¢ and 10¢.
- Consumers pay a deposit of 5¢ for each container < 24 ounces and 10¢ for each container >24 ounces.
- Consumers may 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 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 more than 50 containers 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, rural redemption sites, and non-profit recycling centers to help cover the costs of operating their redemption system. Handling fees are calculated every two years by subtracting the cost per container (for recycling centers that do not receive handling fees) from the cost per container of those that do receive handling fees [a].
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 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 [d].
Processing fees are a specific percentage of the processing payment, determined by the recycling rate of the container type. Beverage distributors pay the processing fee into the recycling fund [b].
Retail redemption: generally speaking, full-line retailers ("beverage dealers") who sell a variety of groceries with gross annual sales of $2 million or more are required to redeem beverage containers on site (in-store or in the parking lot) unless there is a state-certified redemption center* located in a convenience zone consisting of the area of a half-mile radius around the store, or a 3-mile radius in rural areas. A retailer/dealer in an unserved convenience zone (one without a functioning redemption center) may choose, after a 60-day grace period, to pay CalRecycle $100 per day in lieu of redeeming containers on site or establishing a redemption center in the convenience zone. For more detail on retailer/dealer requirements and exemptions, please visit the CalRecycle website [g].
* Redemption centers, termed "recycling centers" by CalRecycle, may be operated by individuals, for-profit businesses, or non-profit organizations.
Importance of CA program nationally
Since implementation of the deposit program, California's overall beverage container recycling rates have increased significantly: from 52% in 1988 to 75% in 2019. The number of CRV containers recycled increased from 13 billion in 2006 to more than 18.4 billion in 2019. These containers comprise over 20% of all the bottles and cans recycled nationally (90 billion) in 2019. In other words, 1 out of 5 beverage containers recycled in the United States comes from California's deposit program.
[a] "Handling Fee Changes, Effective July 1, 2021.” CalRecycle, June 15, 2021.
[b] "2021 Processing Fees." CalRecycle, December 16, 2020.
[c] "2021 Processing Payments." CalRecycle, Dec. 16, 2020.
[e] Reported recycling rates sourced as follows:
2020: "Biannual Report of Beverage Container Sales, Returns,Redemption, and Recycling Rates," CalRecycle, May 10, 2021.
2019 and 2018: "Biannual Report of Beverage Container Sales, Returns, Redemption, and Recycling Rates." CalRecycle, May 11, 2020.
2017: "Biannual Report of Beverage Container Sales, Returns, Redemption, and Recycling Rates." CalRecycle, Dec. 19, 2019.
2016: "Biannual Report of Beverage Container Sales, Returns, Redemption, and Recycling Rates." CalRecycle, November 7, 2018.