California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) 

Recycled Product Manufacturers

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the difference between "recycled" and "recyclable"?
    "Recycled" material was once used as something else and has been made into something new through a recycling process. "Recyclable" means that the material can be recycled into something new and can refer to virgin material or recycled material.
  2. Can plastic soda bottles be turned back into plastic soda bottles?
    Currently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not allow plastic soda bottles to be recycled into new soda bottles because of the possibility that the material will retain harmful chemicals, such as bleach and soap, contacted during processing. The FDA has issued letters of nonobjection for a 5-layered and 3-layered plastic bottle that sandwiches a layer of recycled plastic between the layers of virgin plastic.
  3. Where can I go to purchase or sell bulk beverage container recycled material in California?
    The first place to start is at certified processors who purchase recycled material from certified recycling centers. If your material originates outside of California, the recycling centers and processors will only pay scrap value for that material. You may obtain a list of certified processors and recycling centers by calling the Beverage Container Recycling Program at 1-800-RECYCLE.
  4. What do the numbers and triangles mean on the bottom of plastic containers?
    The numbers with the triangles surrounding them describe the type of plastic material used to make the container. If you are asked to sort your bottles, use these numbers to determine if your container is made out of the material that your recycling center or curbside pickup will collect.
  5. Where can I recycle my nonbeverage container plastics?
    Recycling centers are not required to accept non-beverage container plastic bottles such as detergent bottles because no California Refund Value (CRV) is paid by consumers on these bottles. In order for CRV to apply to a container, it must contain a beverage such as soda, beer, water or juice. However, since these bottles are made out of the same type of plastic as beverage bottles and they can be recycled together, many recycling centers and curbside recycling programs will accept them as a donation.
  6. I am interested in starting a recycled-content product operation. What types of startup financing are available and where can I get recycled feedstock?
    Please visit our Business Funding Opportunities page for more detailed information on available grants and loans.
  7. I am looking for overseas markets to sell processed PET plastic. What are the regulatory requirements that I must follow to conduct these transactions?
    If you already have an overseas buyer, you should contact a "freight forwarder" who can ship your material for you. If you are looking for an overseas buyer, you should either contact a "broker", who will sell the material for you, or sell the material yourself to an "exporter" who will then sell it overseas. All regulatory requirements and paperwork are handled by these entities.
  8. What happens to the beverage containers that I take to my local recycling center?
    Your local recycling center takes the material and separates it into different material types such as plastic, aluminum and glass. The material is then sold to a processor who will bale or shred it. The material is then sold to a manufacturer who makes an end product from it. Glass and aluminum are typically remanufactured into "new" glass bottles and aluminum cans, but plastic bottles typically cannot be remanufactured into plastic beverage bottles. Consequently, they are made into items such as detergent bottles, carpets, clothes, sleeping bags and other non-food items.
Last updated: May 1, 2015
Beverage Container Recycling,