California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle)

Beverage Container Recycling: It's in Your Hands

Cashing In

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) (English | Spanish) or CRV Only--It's the Law (English | Spanish).

The next time you enjoy a frosty beverage, take a closer look at the label. If you see a symbol that says CA CASH REFUND or CA CRV,* you’ll get more out of that bottle or can than a little refreshment. That symbol means the container is eligible to be recycled for cash.

What you get:

  • 5 for most glass bottles, plastic bottles, and aluminum cans less than 24 ounces.
  • 10 for equal to 24 ounces and larger.  

Most beverages other than milk, wine, and distilled spirits are subject to California Refund Value (CRV)

What symbol to look for:

  • CA CASH REFUND
  • CA CRV
  • California Redemption Value
  • CA Redemption Value
  • California Cash Refund

Where does this money come from? Actually, it’s added to the price of the beverage when you buy it. You get it back when you bring containers to a recycling center. The CRV from containers placed in curbside or public recycling bins is claimed by the entity that collects them.

Where do I go? The great thing is, you don't have to go far out of your way to recycle. There are approximately 2,200 recycling centers all over the state, many conveniently located near the places you live and work. Just enter your ZIP code to find the one nearest you.

Are recycling centers owned or operated by the State of California? No, recycling centers are not owned or operated by the State of California. All recycling center days and hours of operation are determined and overseen by the individual recycling center operator and must be posted at the center. Centers are required to be open a minimum of 30 hours per week, at least five days a week, and at least one weekend day. Please contact your local recycling center to find out their days and hours of operation. If you would like to report a recycling center closure or file a formal complaint regarding a certified recycling center, or call 1-800-RECYCLE.

Last updated: December 20, 2013
Beverage Container Recycling, http://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/BevContainer/Consumers/
Contacts: http://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/BevContainer/Contacts.htm