The California Legislature approved a measure from Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, 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. “We’re taking a big step toward cutting our state’s waste stream while uplifting our recycling program,” Sen. Dodd said. “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.

Sen. Dodd’s proposal, Senate Bill 353, would add containers of 100% 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. 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.

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Author: Contra Costa News