California would add wine and distilled spirits containers to its struggling recycling program, while giving beverage dealers another option to collect empty bottles and cans, under a measure lawmakers approved. But critics say the bill would also give hundreds of millions of dollars to corporations they say don’t need the incentives. It’s “a huge opportunity” to divert hundreds of additional tons of waste from landfills, said Democratic Assemblyman Phil Ting, who carried the bill in the Assembly. “This bill will be a huge leap.” In addition, dealers could form a cooperative organization to collect the containers as an alternative to the current law that requires stores to take back the empties, under the proposal by Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins.

Fewer people have been able to claim their deposit refunds in recent years as many neighborhood recycling centers closed. The advocacy group Consumer Watchdog has said many grocery stores have been refusing to take back empties in-store as required. The measure cleared the Assembly 54-0 and the Senate 38-0. It will have an effective date of July 1, 2024, if Gov. Gavin Newsom signs the bill into law.

The bill doesn’t spell out how the cooperative would work, but would require dealers to submit their plan to state regulators for approval. It would also increase the penalty for violating the law from the current $1,000 to $5,000 per day and for intentional violations from $5,000 to $10,000 per day.

To read the full story, visit
Author: Don Thompson, Associated Press, ABC News
Image: Eric Risberg, Associated Press, ABC News