Beverage Container Recycling
Welcome to California’s Beverage Container Recycling Program. Whether you’re a consumer who wants to redeem your empty bottles and cans for cash, a recycling center operator who needs the latest industry updates, or anyone else with an interest in beverage container recycling, you’ll find the information you need on these pages.
CalRecycle, officially known as the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery, administers the California Beverage Container Recycling and Litter Reduction Act. Beverage containers covered under the act are subject to California Redemption Value (CRV), which is 5 cents for containers less than 24 ounces, 10 cents for containers 24 ounces or larger. Thanks to the CRV cash incentive, nearly 300 billion aluminum, glass, and plastic beverage containers have been recycled since the program began in 1987.
- California Redemption Value
Consumers pay California Redemption Value (CRV) when they purchase beverages from a retailer, and receive CRV refunds when they redeem the containers at a recycling center. Most beverages packaged in aluminum, glass, plastic and bi-metal containers are eligible for CRV. Notable exceptions are milk, wine and distilled spirits, which are not included in the CRV program. CRV is 5 cents for each beverage container less than 24 ounces and 10 cents for each container 24 ounces or greater.
- Find A Nearby Recycling Center
Just enter your ZIP code to find a bottle & can redemption center near you.
- Recycling Rates
Biannual Report of Beverage Container Sales, Returns, Redemption, and Recycling Rates (posted 5/10/13) PDF Version (237 KB).
- Californians Recycle
Californians bought more than 21 billion carbonated and noncarbonated CRV-eligible drinks in aluminum, glass, plastic, and bi-metal containers in 2012. More than 17.2 billion of those containers were recycled, saving natural resources, conserving energy, extending the life of our landfills, and helping to reduce emissions of harmful greenhouse gases.
Important Consumer Refund Info!
Did you know there’s a way to get your beverage container recycling refunds on a per-container basis instead of by weight?
That’s right, California law allows you the option of being paid based on count instead of weight for up to 50 empty beverage containers of each material type.
This means you can bring up to 50 aluminum, 50 glass, 50 plastic, and 50 bi-metal California Redemption Value (CRV) containers in a single visit and request to be paid by count.
Recycling centers are required to comply with this rule, found in the California Code of Regulations, Title 14, Chapter 5, Section 2535(b), and thus pay you the full CRV redemption of 5 cents or 10 cents on each container. Just be sure that you inform the site attendant of your load content and how you would like to receive payment before you hand over your load.
Any consumer who has been denied this right by a recycling center can file a complaint via email or by calling 1-800-RECYCLE.
If you’re recycling more than 50 containers of any one material type, the decision to pay by count or weight is under the authority of the recycling center operator. Please make sure that your containers are whole and free of contaminants such as dirt, excessive liquid or other foreign substances. If you are being paid by weight, please make sure the load contains only eligible CRV beverage containers. If the load contains containers that are not eligible for CRV, the recycling center must either reject the load or pay only scrap value.
To learn which beverages are covered by CRV, read either Beverages subject to California Refund Value (CRV) or CRV Only--It's the Law (English | Spanish).
Beverage Container Recycling, http://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/BevContainer/