Home » Politicians Approve Update To California’s Bottle Recycling Law

Politicians Approve Update To California’s Bottle Recycling Law


California lawmakers have approved an update to the state’s bottle recycling law that will add an estimated 200 million containers per year into the recycling stream by including fruit and vegetable juice containers.

Senate Bill 353, proposed by Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, was approved by the state Legislature late Thursday and is now headed for Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk.

The measure seeks to bolster California’s beverage container recycling program, reducing the amount of plastic and glass going into landfills and helping to stabilize the recycling market, Dodd’s office said.

“We’re taking a big step toward cutting our state’s waste stream while uplifting our recycling program,” Sen. Dodd said in a statement. “This bill reduces the amount of recyclables we put into landfills, provides a financial lifeline to recyclers, and maximizes consumers’ options for redeeming deposits on beverage containers. Ultimately, it will help us meet our recycling goals.”


The California Beverage Container Recycling and Litter Reduction Act, established in 1986, encourages consumers to recycle beverage containers by requiring them to pay a deposit for eligible bottles.

Over the years, the program has been expanded to include soda, beer and wine bottles. However, it does not include larger or vegetable juice containers. The program has been plagued with volatile annual scrap valuations that threaten many recyclers in rural, underserved communities, Dodd’s office said.

SB 353 would add containers of 100-percent fruit juice and vegetable juice to the state’s bottle recycling law, putting another 200 million containers per year into the recycling stream. It would also invest new ongoing funding to support rural recycling options for consumers to redeem their deposit and improve recycling rates.

Californians Against Waste executive director Mark Murray said the measure will increase consumer opportunities to recycle and get cash back on empty containers.


“All juice beverages, regardless of container size, will now have a refund, and recycling payments for new and existing recycling centers will be stabilized against scrap market fluctuations,” Murray said in a statement.

The bill also authorizes the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery to adjust its processing of payment calculations for recyclers to a quarterly schedule rather than yearly, helping to stabilize the market. Lastly, the bill improves transparency on recycling metrics and allows the department to make critical efficiency improvements.

SB 353 follows the Legislature’s passage of a bill authored last year by Senate President pro Tem Toni Atkins and Sen. Dodd to add wine and spirits containers to the program and make significant investments in recycling.

Plastic Recycling Corporation of California executive director Sally Houghton commended the passage of the law as it is expected to increase recycling rates.

“As the stewardship organization for plastic containers in California’s bottle bill, we commend (Sen. Dodd) for expanding the bottle bill to include all juice bottles and to make the system more responsive to market forces,” Houghton said in a statement.


Ricardoh September 18, 2023 - 2:51 PM - 2:51 PM

Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa has come up with a lot of strange things. My favorite is making Hiway 37 a three lane road with a movable divider so the divider gets moved twice a day. Plus make it a toll road. More than enough room to make it four lanes but he wants to make another problem. Here he is with another dumb idea.

Captain Bebops September 19, 2023 - 9:22 AM - 9:22 AM

I’m betting the Sen. Dodd doesn’t even deal with his household refuse. Probably his wife or housekeeper. At most he probably drags the bins out to the curb. Thus he has no idea why much simpler the non-CRV fee plastics are easy for the public to recycle and hopefully get an earful from them.

domo September 18, 2023 - 3:25 PM - 3:25 PM

How much will it cost taxpayers? Will the additional 200M bottles, etc. really and actually get recycled? … I’m skeptical from what I’ve seen

Reasonable September 18, 2023 - 3:46 PM - 3:46 PM

So …. where are all the recycling sites that are supposed to exist in order to drive my carbon spewing car and get back the BS dollars I’m being charged. I don’t know for sure but I’ve read somewhere that there are huge mounds of crushed glass that the recyclers don’t know how to get rid of.

No Excuses September 18, 2023 - 7:02 PM - 7:02 PM

Another money grab…call it a tax! When’s the last time we were able to walk back to the store with our soda bottles and get our deposit back? Should I find out which bus goes by the closest “open” recycler and drag my bag of cans and bottles on and off the bus with me? Re-read line one… “Another money grab…call it a tax!”

Legal Eagle September 18, 2023 - 7:11 PM - 7:11 PM

Safeways are now supposed to accept CRV containers at their customer service department if there is no local recycling center. I got fed up when they refused to accept bottles that seniors had collected. One manager said to “take it to the dump” even though they were legally obligated to accept the deposit.

The problem turned out to be widespread across Contra Costa, as at least 23 stores by my count refused to take in bottles. Despite the fact they make tens of thousands of dollars daily in beverage sales, having an employee transfer recyclables would impact their profit margins.

I notified DEC of this issue and they proceeded with undercover sting operations on their stores. From what I was told, Safeway would have incurred at least $1.2 million in fines. Lucky for them, Assemblyman Ting offered them a legislative reprieve to comply with the law.

So if you see a sign that says “We accept CRVs,” you’re good to go now.

WC Resident September 18, 2023 - 9:07 PM - 9:07 PM

I tried to redeem some CRV containers at a local Safeway and got a constant run-around. It seems the person who handles the recycles is never in the store regardless of when you show up. Plus, you can’t recycle by weight. It’s only by item count.

Legal Eagle September 19, 2023 - 10:02 AM - 10:02 AM

Send a complaint to the DEC and let them know the store refused to accept the items. If there is no other available recycling center who can take the items, they are violating the law and the state can issue fines against the company.

Reasonable September 19, 2023 - 7:50 AM - 7:50 AM

Legal Eagle thank you for this info and your efforts.

Jeff (the other one) September 19, 2023 - 11:45 AM - 11:45 AM

my first question is, was it Safeway Corporate who made it such that Safeway is supposed to take in recyclables? If not, I object to our legislators mandating a grocery store now also become trash collection, all the while taxing the consumer. I do not have the energy to get into a long description of why I dislike the politician/”public servant” drafting legislation telling private industry what some of the services they must do, but I think it evident why I think this.

Legal Eagle September 19, 2023 - 2:44 PM - 2:44 PM

The most recent passage of SB1310 in 2022 updated the state recycling laws. For stores with over $2 million in gross sales, they are required to accept deposits from consumers if there is no “convenience zone” within 1/2 mile of the premises that is accepting bottles and cans. The law was updated to include wine and distilled spirit sellers as well.

RePlanet used to have numerous facilities in close proximity to grocery stores in the Bay Area, but once their operations shut down, consumers were left with limited options to dispose of their recyclables and obtain a convenient refund. The intent of the legislation from my understanding was to encourage large stores to pool their resources so they could open more recycling centers to the general public, especially in underserved rural areas.

American Citizen September 18, 2023 - 4:13 PM - 4:13 PM

But they still charge the deposit for recyclables per bottle. And when you go back to turn your recyclables in to get your deposit back, they pay by the pound. Total scam.

Mombearto4 September 18, 2023 - 11:34 PM - 11:34 PM

That’s because this isn’t the bottle deposit of the 60s.

It a revenue generating program for the State.

American Citizen September 19, 2023 - 10:06 AM - 10:06 AM

Uhhhh, Ya think????

Legal Eagle September 19, 2023 - 2:49 PM - 2:49 PM

The CRV returns the deposit you made from the original purchase, so there is no loss except for the present value of time.

My $0.02 is that it is worth your time to return most aluminum, glass and plastic containers at a local recycling center by weight. Based on current prices, you are likely to either make the same amount (or more) than the CRV.

However, I would return plastic water bottles and ask for an ITEMIZED count (50 max allowed per container type), as those lightweight plastics tend to weigh less and on average return 60% of the CRV deposit.

Captain Bebops September 18, 2023 - 4:15 PM - 4:15 PM

Currently fruit juice and vegetable juice plastic bottles can go into the recyclable bin. There is no CRV fee added when you buy it. Looks like this skink wants to grab some more money for the state and make our lives more complicated. Only fruit juice with sugar added or other things carry a CRV fee.

PESFG September 18, 2023 - 4:44 PM - 4:44 PM

How about passing a bill where trash collecting companies, like Republic Services, will reduce the bill amount for those households that recycle, instead of doing the opposite. It takes time to sort and take it to the recycling center. There are just two recycling centers in the area. If they really cared for the environment they wouldn’t require us to pollute more by having us drive to the “nearest” recycling center. Consumers should also be paid for recycling appliances and electronics, not the other way around.

KPA September 18, 2023 - 5:08 PM - 5:08 PM

Get a juicer and make your own fresh juice. Sure beats whatever comes in a plastic bottle, and you don’t have to worry about phthalates disrupting your hormones and whatever else plastic does to a body.

Dr. Jellyfinger September 18, 2023 - 5:13 PM - 5:13 PM

Those big containers are dangerous. I’ve heard of at least one suffocation death in Poland of a guy eating pickles.

happypappy September 18, 2023 - 5:51 PM - 5:51 PM

This is another cash grab by another tax-n-spend democrat. They don’t really care about recycling, it’s your cash deposit on the containers democrats are after.

Original G September 18, 2023 - 6:53 PM - 6:53 PM

Additional revenue for the homeless.

Anon September 18, 2023 - 11:42 PM - 11:42 PM

My wife and I recycle cans, bottles and glass for a bit of extra money. She gets them from her work and a couple of other places. I take them from my work since we save them. For the amount of work it takes it’s worth it in the end. We can get a couple hundred dollars for a truck load.

Dorothy September 19, 2023 - 9:57 AM - 9:57 AM

Been to the “nearest” recycle place? You have to sort everything! All CRV glass (clear) in one unit. All CRV glass (not clear) in a different one. All (clean) non-CRV glass in one unit) All All CRV aluminum cans in a different one. The there are the CRV plastics. You do the same kind of cleaning and diving. They get real picky about what they will accept and you don’t get much in return. And yes, they go by weight not per unit rebate.

nytemuvr September 19, 2023 - 10:16 AM - 10:16 AM

I was a courtesy clerk back in the 70s, in the grocery stores back then there was a basket in the front of the store where all the returned soda bottles went into. It was the courtesy clerk’s job back then to separate the bottles by brand in the dreaded “bottle yard” in the back of the store. A nasty job it was, reserved for the “low man on the totem pole”. Out in the hot sun with dried sticky bottles, black widow spiders and sharp broken bottles. I was so glad to become an apprentice clerk and forego that nasty job. Kids would frequently break into the bottle yard to steal the empties then return them to other stores for cash. Not saying those were the “good old days” but soda was a treat and it had real cane syrup in the soda.

Larry September 19, 2023 - 2:59 PM - 2:59 PM

Time to shoplift up to the amount of the deposit. Then you can return the empties at the store for them to deal with.

Yoyohop September 19, 2023 - 6:24 PM - 6:24 PM

Bought a mattress last week. Now you have to pay recycling/disposable fees for those too. But apparently it is now free to dispose if any mattress in Ca.

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