News Release

Office of Public Affairs

For Immediate Release: December 19, 2013
For more information contact:
Media Contact: | Mark Oldfield

SACRAMENTO—California has taken another step in the state’s concerted efforts to combat fraud in its immensely successful beverage container recycling program.

Revised regulations effective Jan. 1, 2014, significantly reduce the volume of California Redemption Value bottles and cans an individual can redeem at recycling centers in a single day. As a result, importers of out-of-state containers, which are not eligible for CRV refunds, and scavenger fleets illegally removing the contents of residential curbside recycling bins will find it considerably more time-consuming and risky to reap any ill-gotten gains.

The change, announced today by the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle), is the latest salvo in the state’s vigorous effort to thwart beverage container recycling fraud.

“With these much lower daily load limits, we hope wrongdoers will make a New Year’s resolution that it’s just not worth it to continue their illegal activities,” CalRecycle Director Caroll Mortensen said. “They’ll have to take a lot more trips to recycling centers, which only increases the chances CalRecycle or our partners in law enforcement will catch them.”

The new per-person, per-day limits are 100 pounds of aluminum or plastic CRV-eligible containers, and 1,000 pounds of CRV glass. Previously, the limits were 500 pounds of aluminum or plastic, and 2,500 pounds of glass. Aluminum and plastic, due to their relatively light weight, are the most common materials found in truckloads brought across California’s borders for illegal redemption.

For the vast majority of consumers, the change will not be noticeable. CalRecycle research indicates more than 99 percent of all transactions are for less than 80 pounds of aluminum, while the average weight is 8.7 pounds. For clear plastic bottles, nearly 99 percent of transactions are for less than 80 pounds, and the average is 11.6 pounds.

CalRecycle is undertaking a major and multipronged effort to protect the state’s beverage container recycling fund. Much of the emphasis is on preventing fraud before it occurs. In addition to the new load limits, two other program changes are pending. One such change would enhance training of recycling center operators. The other supports a new state law requiring importers of out-of-state containers to enter California through CDFA agricultural inspection stations and comply with stringent reporting and inspection requirements that include providing personal identification at the station, and specifying the destination in California where they are taking the containers.

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CalRecycle provides oversight of California solid waste handling and recycling programs to protect human health, develop sustainable solutions that conserve resources, and reduce greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.