California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) 

Beverage Container Recycling Program

Beverage Container Recycling Pilot Program (SB 458)

About SB 458

Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 458 (Wiener, Chapter 648, Statutes of 2017) into law on October 10, 2017. This legislation authorizes CalRecycle to approve pilot projects proposed by jurisdictions to provide convenient beverage container redemption opportunities in underserved areas.

Since the California Beverage Container Recycling and Litter Reduction Act was passed in 1986, which established the California Beverage Container Recycling Program, more than 300 billion used beverage containers have been diverted from landfills and collected for recycling. Consumers pay California Redemption Value (CRV) when they purchase beverages from a retailer and receive CRV refunds when they redeem the containers at a state certified recycling center. CRV is 5 cents for eligible containers less than 24 ounces and 10 cents for eligible containers 24 ounces or larger. In some areas, however, people don’t have convenient options to recycle and collect the CRV of beverages they bought.

SB 458 is a new law that aims to increase the convenience of recycling in areas that are underserved by recycling centers. The law allows CalRecycle to approve up to five recycling pilot project programs which will allow greater flexibility for recycling centers in these underserved areas. Interested jurisdictions who meet eligibility requirements can apply. These pilot project programs may include additional collection methods and alternative ways for the public to receive CRV for recycling eligible beverage containers.

What You Need to Know

While many of the details will be clarified through new regulations, there are directives set forth in SB 458, which provide the framework for how we will implement the pilot project program.

  • CalRecycle may authorize up to five pilot projects proposed by jurisdictions.
  • These pilot projects will operate until January 1, 2022.
  • To be eligible to apply, the jurisdiction must meet one of the following criteria as of October 10, 2017:
    • Had at least 6 unserved convenience zones.
    • Had at least 75 percent of all convenience zones unserved.
    • Was located in a region designated as "rural."
  • To be eligible for consideration by CalRecycle, the proposed pilot project must serve at least one of the following:
    • At least 3 unserved convenience zones.
    • One or more convenience zone impacting at least 30 dealers.
    • A rural region.
  • CalRecycle may approve multiple recyclers or operators to serve each pilot project. In other words, a pilot project in a city/county could include more than one recycling site, company, or approach. However, each convenience zone may only be served by one pilot project recycler.
  • These pilot project recyclers will need to work with the approved jurisdictions and become certified by CalRecycle.
  • Compared to traditional certifications, pilot project recyclers have additional flexibility, including reduced hours of operation. Jurisdictions may propose alternative methods of redemption, such as stationary drop-off locations or mobile collection programs.
  • Pilot project recyclers will have to sell their collected material to certified processors, as currently required by traditional certified recyclers.
  • In addition to CRV reimbursement, recyclers operating within a pilot project may be eligible for other program payments:
    • Handling fees, paid on a per-container basis, to recycling program operators near large grocery stores.
    • Processing payments, paid on a per-pound basis, to program operators to help cover the costs of collecting and recycling materials that would not otherwise be economic to handle.

How to Participate

  • More details about the application process will be available after emergency regulations have been adopted, which is tentatively projected for late spring 2018. At that time, CalRecycle will publish the pilot project application form and pilot project recycling center application forms, along with instructions.
  • If you are interested in applying for a pilot project recycling center, please contact your jurisdiction. In order to operate as a pilot project recycler, you must be certified by CalRecycle. Please refer to the information about our precertification training requirements. These classes often fill quickly, and you may wish to register for class soon.
  • If you would like to apply for a pilot project, and you are a jurisdiction, please contact Jennifer Akins.

Current and Upcoming Activities

Last updated: March 27, 2018
Beverage Container Recyclers,