California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) 

Beverage Container Recycling

More Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) 

  • How do I become certified as a rural region recycler or neighborhood drop-off program?
    The Program has adopted emergency regulations that implement these new categories of recycling centers. The emergency regulations were adopted in January 2000 and clarify the requirements needed to be certified as a neighborhood drop-off program or a rural region recycler.
  • In order to become a certified rural region recycler or neighborhood drop-off program, your recycling operation must be located in a designated rural region. If you are interested in knowing if you are in a rural region, call 1-800-RECYCLE and ask for the Convenience Zone Section. You may also call 1-800-RECYCLE and ask for the Industry Services Branch for information on certifying as a rural region recycler or neighborhood drop-off program.
  • Are refillable water jugs now included in the program?
    Noncarbonated water containers were added to the CRV program by SB 332. However, the Division’s interpretation of the law is that containers that are customarily refilled, like those used in water coolers, are excluded.
  • Are all 100% fruit juice containers excluded from the program?
    No. Only 100% fruit juice containers 46 ounces or larger are excluded from the program.
  • Are all beverages in containers 46 ounces or larger excluded?
    No. Only 100% fruit juice containers 46 ounces or larger are excluded. All other 46 ounces or larger containers are included in the program unless they are containers that are customarily refilled.
  • Are bag-in-a-box, pouches, etc., still included in the program?
    Any beverage container for products included in the program is subject to CRV and processing fees, if the container is made primarily of aluminum, glass, plastic and bimetal. Using this criteria, beverages packaged in a bag-in-a-box would be excluded because the packaging is primarily cardboard.

Only pouches made primarily of plastic are in the program. While some beverages packaged in pouches of layered material types were formerly in the program, effective January 1, 2000, pursuant to SB 332, only those beverages that are packaged in pouches made primarily of plastic are in the program. Pouches which consist of layers of plastic, foil, paper or cardboard are not in the program because they do not meet the definition of plastic container which requires that the container be primarily plastic (PRC Section 14517). Therefore, foil/plastic pouches like Capri-Sun or Seagram’s spirit coolers are out of the program.

Container manufacturers who need to know if their pouch or any specific beverage container is included in the program must send an example to CalRecycle for a determination. For more information or questions regarding beverage containers, please call 1-800- RECYCLE and ask for the Industry Services Branch.

  • What about plastic portion controlled cups that have an aluminum foil seal, such as those used for orange juice served at some fast-food restaurants, and for juices and other beverages sold to hospitals and other institutions?
    If the container is tightly sealed, and contains a covered beverage it is included in the program.
  • What is a bi-metal container?
    A bimetal beverage container consists of one or more metals, but is composed primarily of steel.
  • What if a container is 100% steel--is it included in the program?
    Yes, if it contains a covered beverage--as indicated above, a steel container would be considered a bimetal container because it consists of ONE or more metals and composed primarily of steel.
  • Is a distributor required to report and pay CRV on products donated to charitable organizations, institutions, etc.?
    Yes. CRV must be paid to the department on all covered beverages, whether sold or transferred in this state.
  • Does the new law allow any grace period for new beverage manufacturers and distributors to get up to speed on the requirements?
    All new program participants are expected to begin reporting and paying CRV and/or processing fees to the Department on the sale or transfer of covered beverages effective January 1, 2000. The January reports are due March 10, 2000. There is a one-year grace period for the labeling of new products, but beverage manufacturers are encouraged to begin labeling as soon as possible in order to alleviate confusion to distributors, dealers, recyclers, and consumers.
  • Given the new material types added to the program, how will recycler price sign requirements change?
    A notice, dated December 20, 1999 was sent to recyclers explaining price sign requirements in detail. Effective January 1, 2000, recyclers are required to post a price sign for aluminum, glass, bimetal, and individual prices for each of the seven plastic material types. Recyclers should refer to the Commingled Rates notice dated December 1, 1999 for information on the plastic material types and the appropriate CRV payments. The notices can be faxed to you by calling 1-800-RECYCLE.
  • Will recycling centers have to change their logs for all the different plastic types?
    Recyclers will have to record and pay CRV on the different plastic types. Each purchase of a plastic material type will require the recycler to record a separate transaction. The Recycler Operating, Recordkeeping, and Accounting Requirements manual has been revised and sent to recyclers in mid-January. All new recordkeeping changes will be incorporated and sample receipts and logs will be included in the updated manual.
  • As a result of SB 332/AB 1244, "Other Plastic" is included in the recycling program. What beverages are sold in the "Other Plastic" containers?
    Following is a list of products packaged in the containers in question. The list is not all inclusive. Based on market or regional considerations, manufacturers may package products in more than one material type. Therefore, one product may be listed in more than one category. These resin types can be identified by the number inside the triangle located on the bottom of plastic beverage containers.
  • Resin #2: High Density Polyethylene (HDPE)
    Brand examples: Calistoga, Crystal Geyser, Arrowhead and Sparklett’s bottled water; Odwalla, Sunny Delight, Naked 100%, and Minute Maid juice; Tampico Punch and El Mexicano fruit flavored drink.
  • Resin #3: Vinyl (V) also known as Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
    Brand examples: Cobb Mountain non-carbonated water and Blue Thunder, Carbo Pump, Ripped Force and Amino Force.
  • Resin #4: Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE)
    Brand examples: Kool-Aid Burst.
  • Resin #5: Polypropylene (PP)
    Brand examples: Tang Orange Uproar and Langers juice.
  • Resin #6: Polystyrene (PS)
    Brand examples: McDonalds 100% juice
  • Resin #7: Other (includes multilayers of plastic resin)
    Brand examples: Arizona Iced Tea, Odwalla, and Langers juice, Heinz 100% juice, Odwalla super food drink, Ramona and Clearly Canadian non-carbonated water, and Total Sport athletic thirst quencher.
  • What beverage containers are included in the plastic resin #7 material type?
    Plastic resin #7 is any container marked #7, and for the purposes of the beverage container recycling program, any beverage container that is not marked with a resin code. This includes multi-resin layered plastic pouches and many plastic bottles, or other rigid plastic containers that are exempted from resin code labeling by law.
  • As a processor, where do we dispose of plastic beverage containers after January 1, if there are no markets?
    Call 1-800-RECYCLE and ask for the Market Research Section for a list of plastic end-users. If there is no market for a particular plastic resin type (#2 –#7), processors should contact the Market Research Section to advise their intent to dispose. No processor shall dispose of any empty beverage containers or authorize a recycling center to dispose without prior authority from CalRecycle.
  • As a recycler, where do we dispose of plastic containers and receive the appropriate program payments?
    Recycling centers cannot dispose any empty beverage containers without the authorization from a processor. Recyclers must find a processor to accept the material to receive the appropriate program payments. A processor can authorize a recycler to dispose after their request to dispose has been approved by the Program. A notice regarding disposal of recycled beverage containers was mailed to recycler and processors on December 27, 1999. A copy may be faxed to you by calling 1-800-RECYCLE. When calling, recycling centers may ask the Industry Services Branch to send a current listing of certified processors which identifies the material types accepted.

FAQ Home

Last updated: December 14, 2012
Beverage Container Recycling, http://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/BevContainer/
Contacts: http://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/BevContainer/Contacts.htm