News Release

Office of Public Affairs

For Immediate Release: October 1, 2020
Release #2020-07
Media Contact: Lance Klug

 

Pilot Projects Bring Regional Solutions to Help Consumers Cash in Empty Bottles & Cans

SACRAMENTO – Local leaders in San Mateo County will expand the number of take-back sites for consumers to cash in their empty bottles and cans through a pilot project just approved by the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle), as the state explores new models to boost consumer access to recycling California Redemption Value (CRV) bottles and cans.

Local pilot projects offer more flexibility for California communities to innovate new CRV redemption models to fit their specific needs. State law authorizes CalRecycle to approve and provide funding for up to five pilot projects. To date, CalRecycle has approved the following three projects:

  • San Mateo County – Three additional fixed CRV take-back locations with limited operating hours established within San Mateo County, including one in a more rural area.
  • San Francisco – Tagged bags of material dropped at collection bins throughout the city. Electronic payments issued with 72 hours after the material is processed.
  • Culver City – Mobile redemption center alternates between two locations six days a week.

California recycles more than 18 billion beverage containers each year because of our shared commitment to the environment and to each other,” CalRecycle Acting Director Ken DaRosa said. "These local projects are customized to the needs of their communities to provide consumers more convenient redemption opportunities.”

San Mateo County’s regional solution was designed to overcome local challenges like high real estate costs, limited parking, and neighborhood opposition to new CRV take-back sites. The project uses existing local resources and nontraditional community locations to maximize consumer convenience. The pilot aims to create a more successful model for CRV redemption in the region.

3 New CRV Pilot Project Locations in San Mateo County

Sites will include a 20-foot metal shipping container to store equipment and materials. The number of pilot project sites may increase throughout the span of the program.

“The County of San Mateo is excited to join our state and local partners to provide three more convenient CRV redemption locations to our residents,” San Mateo County Office of Sustainability Director Carolyn Bloede said. “This partnership will make it easier for residents all over the county to redeem their cans and bottles for cash.”

“Half Moon Bay is proud to be a part of this much-needed pilot program, which will have such a positive impact in our city and on the coastside," said Half Moon Bay Mayor Adam Eisen. "This partnership will generate great rewards for our community, and for the environment.”

“Daly City is excited to bring CRV redemption back to our community following so many changes in the global recycling market over the past few years,” Daly City Sustainability Coordinator Leilani Ramos said. “This partnership will help so many residents who depend on CRV redemption as part of their livelihoods.”

The Beverage Container Recycling Pilot Program, created by Senate Bill 458 (Wiener, Chapter 648, Statutes of 2017), authorizes CalRecycle to approve up to five pilot projects proposed by local jurisdictions to explore innovative, new models for CRV redemption in underserved areas. Assembly Bill 54 (Ting, Chapter 793, Statutes of 2019) made changes to the pilot program to allow for greater flexibility and to provide up to $5 million in funding for approved projects.

Pilot project start dates vary based on the application approval of pilot project recyclers. Once pilot programs commence, all convenience zones in the program area will be considered served, relieving CRV retailers of their obligation to either redeem containers in-store or pay a $100-per-day fee.

Jurisdictions interested in applying for one of two remaining pilot projects before the approval deadline of January 1, 2022, can find application instructions online.

At a Glance: California's Beverage Container Recycling Program

Californians have recycled more than 400 billion bottles and cans since the inception of the Beverage Container Recycling Program in 1986.

  • California’s Beverage Container Recycling and Litter Reduction Act established the California Redemption Value (CRV) deposit on beverage containers to incentivize recycling and reduce litter. Beverage containers can be redeemed at CalRecycle-certified recycling centers or obligated retailers.
  • The state’s beverage container recycling rate increased from 52 percent in 1988 to its current beverage container recycling rate of 75 percent.
  • Californians recycled 18 billion of the 24 billion CRV beverage containers purchased in 2019.
  • In March 2020, CalRecycle submitted a report to the Legislature that identifies possible options to address the lack of recycling centers in some areas by giving recycling businesses the flexibility to adapt to the challenges of doing business in various regions of the state.
  • California established the highest minimum recycled content goals in the world for plastic beverage containers, which ultimately require manufacturers to use 50 percent recycled plastic in new CRV plastic beverage containers. In addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions that come from making new plastic, the new standards will strengthen domestic markets for recycled plastic—increasing its value and supporting local, green jobs.
  • California allocated an additional $15 million in funding to support recycling centers and local programs to explore new redemption models that could include mobile collection.

CalRecycle maintains an online database directing consumers to their nearest certified recycling centers or retailers required to redeem CRV deposits in-store. Californians are encouraged to report issues with CRV redemption to CalRecycle’s toll-free number (1-800-RECYCLE) or via email at complaints@calrecycle.ca.gov


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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.