Containers of orange juice are displayed on a shelf at a grocery store in San Rafael, Calif., on Oct. 29, 2018. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Californians will soon be able to recycle fruit and vegetable juice containers after Gov. Gavin Newsom’s approval of expanding the state’s beverage container recycling program.
Mr. Newsom signed Senate Bill (SB) 353, authored by Sen. Bill Dodd (D-Napa), on Oct 13, which adds 100-percent fruit and vegetable juice bottles to the state’s 1986 Beverage Container Recycling and Litter Reduction Act.
The law will go into effect Jan. 1, 2024.
“We’re taking a big step toward cutting our state’s waste stream while uplifting our recycling program,” Mr. Dodd said in a release after the Legislature passed SB 352 in September. “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.”
The act encourages residents to recycle beverage containers by requiring them to pay a small deposit for eligible bottles. While the program had previously included soda and some alcoholic beverage containers, it had not included the juice bottles.
Consumers pay a fee—known as a California Redemption Value or CRV— of 5 cents for containers less than 24 ounces, 10 cents for those 24 ounces or larger, and 25 cents for wine or distilled spirits in a box, bladder, pouch, or similar container.
Fees are refunded to consumers if they recycle the containers at one of the state’s 2,000 redemption centers.
According to Mr. Dodd, the new law will add another 200 million containers per year into the state’s recycling stream.
Many recycling centers have recently been forced to close, according to a legislative analysis of the bill.
Consequently, the new law invests funding to support rural recycling centers by establishing a per-ton temporary payment to such recyclers for glass until 2030.
Funding would come from the state’s Beverage Container Recycling Fund, which has a balance of over $330 million from redemption payments by beverage distributors on each beverage container sold in the state, according to a legislative analysis of the bill.
“This measure will increase consumer opportunities to recycle and get cash back on empty containers, by making common sense updates to the CRV program,” said Mark Murray, executive director of Californians Against Waste, in a joint statement with Mr. Dodd Sept. 15. “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.”