Plastics Waste Management
California's Rigid Plastic Packaging Container (RPPC) Program
The information provided on this webpage is an overview of the Rigid Plastic Packaging Container (RPPC) law and regulations; it does not replace the requirements specified within them. Always refer to the full text of the regulations and Statute, to ensure full compliance.
- What is an RPPC?
- Product Manufacturer Certification Process
- Container Compliance Options
- Product Manufacturer Violations and Penalties
California’s Rigid Plastic Packaging Container (RPPC) law was enacted in 1991 as part of an effort to reduce the amount of plastic waste disposed in California landfills and to increase the use of recycled postconsumer plastic. The law mandates that product manufacturers that sell products held in RPPCs meet one of the compliance options. Selling includes direct sales as well as products offered for sale in California (this includes retail sales, and remote sales through distributors, wholesalers, and the Internet). Some products are exempt from compliance, such as:
- food, drugs, cosmetics, baby formula, medical devices;
- a Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) material; or
- a hazardous material subject to US Department of Transportation regulations.
CalRecycle may impose penalties on product manufacturers for failure to comply and on container manufacturers for failure to supply information to product manufacturers. CalRecycle annually reviews a percentage of the registered product manufacturers to verify compliance with the applicable RPPC statutes and regulations.
What is an RPPC?
It generally means a plastic packaging container that:
- is made entirely of plastic (except for incidental portions of the packaging),
- has a relatively inflexible shape or form,
- has a minimum capacity or volume of eight (8) ounces up to a maximum capacity or volume of five (5) gallons,
- is capable of at least one closure (including closure during the manufacturing process), and
- holds a product that is sold or offered for sale in California.
For the complete definition of an RPPC see the California Code of Regulations (CCR), Title 14 (14CCR), Section 17943 (aa).
Some RPPCs are exempt due to the type of product they hold (e.g., food, drugs, toxic or hazardous products). For additional information on exempt RPPCs see 14CCR Section 17946.5.
If you are unsure whether your package is an RPPC, review the Container Determination Tools webpage.
Product Manufacturer Certification Process
The certification process developed takes a phased approach. This provides all product manufacturers selling their products within an RPPC advance notice that they have been identified and may be required to certify compliance. The phases of the certification process include:
- compliance certification
For additional information visit the Product Manufacturer Certification Process webpage.
Container Compliance Options
To comply with the law, an RPPC must meet one of the statutory compliance options. The compliance options provide product manufacturers with flexibility in how they comply with the requirements. For additional information review the Container Compliance Options webpage.
Product Manufacturer Violations and Penalties
CalRecycle annually reviews a percentage of the registered product manufacturers to verify the information and compliance with the law. Non-compliant product manufacturers may be assessed penalties of up to $100,000. Violations may include, but are not limited to, failure to submit all required information, submitting incomplete information, or failing to comply with the law. For further information, see the Violations and Penalties webpage.