First, the good news for recyclers across the state of California.
On September 27, Governor Gavin Newsom signed SB 1013which expands the state’s longstanding “bottle bill” to include wine and liquor containers in its California cash value (CRV) funding beginning January 1, 2024. The funds are overseen by the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle).
Consumers will pay an additional 10 cents for most of these containers and 5 cents for the mini bottles – called nips – which contain 1.7 ounces of alcohol, but can get that money back if they return the bottles to a redemption center. . Beginning January 1, 2025, consumers will pay an additional 25 cents for wine and spirits in boxes, bladders, pouches or other similar containers.
In a webinar breaking down the expansion of the law, Container Recycling Institute (CRI) Speaker Susan Collins estimated that adding wine and liquor bottles in their various forms will increase the state’s beverage glass recycling rate by about 30% to 59%, with 500 million additional containers recycled per year.
CRI says collection and collection programs are on track to see a $46 million increase in revenue once wine and spirit bottles are added to the collection.
Under the current law, passed in 1987, consumers can redeem 5-cent deposits on items such as beer cans and bottles, soda cans and plastic juice containers under 24 ounces and 10 cents on containers over 24 ounces by returning their empties to a recycling center. But when placing containers in their curbside recycling bins, carriers can charge the state for CRV deposits.
According to CRI research, Californians purchase approximately 1.3 billion bottles of wine and liquor annually.
According to research from Culver City, Calif.-based CRI, the expansion will help produce more clean recyclable materials for manufacturing; support more recycling jobs within the state; transfer the end-of-life costs of used beverage containers to producers; halving waste for these beverage categories; reduce 160,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions; and preventing pollution from making new containers from virgin materials.
From there, the news gets murkier.
Collins said about two dozen provisions were included in SB 1013, which will add nearly $900 million to recycling program expenses over a six-year period. An additional $379 million in retraining spending was spent via budget bill AB 179 which CalRecycle will use for various local aids, beverage container recycling and waste reduction efforts.
The state’s beverage container fund balance was last reported at $635 million, Collins said in the webinar, meaning the more than $1 billion increase in bill spending modified will cost more than what is available in the state fund.
And the new programming outlined in the bills has yet to be ironed out.
Convenience and collective areas
During his webinar, Collins said that starting in 2024, SB 1013 will require larger Recycling Zones (CZs) across the state. The center of a CZ is usually a large supermarket and a redemption center should be located within half a mile in urban areas and 3 miles in rural areas.
Under the amended bill, the CZ’s radius will expand to 1 mile in urban areas and 5 miles in rural areas if the new CZ will be served by an existing recycling center, a change that Collins said , hampers convenience for customers. The state currently has 1,265 redemption centers, down more than 1,200 from 2013.
Collins said existing processing fee sites will retain the right to continue to receive these fees and will not be penalized for CZ distance changes.
Retailers will see a big change, however, with the elimination of “Option B” from the bill, where a retailer in a CZ could choose to pay $100 per day instead of accepting container returns. From 2025, if a retailer is in a CZ without a recycling centre, they will have to accept in-store container buybacks and deliver them to a recycling location or pay to a dealer cooperative where a group of stores can arrange to provide redemption in one or more CZs.
CRI says the bill will reduce the percentage of retailers eligible for a state exemption from 35% to 15%.
CalRecycle will spend 2023 creating regulations for dealer co-ops, which it hopes to have in place by 2024.
“There’s no plan on how dealer co-ops will work,” Collins said. “[Retailers] can organize into any group. There could be five retailers [in a cooperative] in one area, or all of them.
New expenses add up
The amended SB 1013 calls for a host of new spending and recycling programs.
One of the largest is a market development payment to manufacturers of glass beverage containers that can total up to $60 million per year from January 1, 2023 through January 1, 2028, as long as funds are available. It is designed to incentivize manufacturers to buy recycled glass to use in making new beverage containers on site.
The new spending also comes in the form of three glass processing incentive grants totaling $9 million. The Recycled Glass Processing Incentive Grant Program will award up to $4 million annually to spur the increased use of glass cullet in the manufacture of new glass beverage containers in the state. The Enhanced Recycling of Empty Glass Beverage Containers grant program will award up to $4 million a year, and CRI said it aims to fund regional pilot programs to provide bins and collect beverage containers empty glass containers from licensed restaurants and liquor establishments and transport them for recycling. . Local governments and other entities will also be eligible. The Empty Glass Beverage Transportation Grant Program will provide $1 million annually to facilitate rail transportation of empty glass beverage containers to state glass processing facilities.
In the webinar, Collins said the three grant programs will take effect on January 1, 2023, long before CRI expects an influx of glass beverage containers to enter the recycling stream.
“The timing is a bit off the wall,” she said. “We don’t see any more glass going in until the wine and spirits are added.”
Notably, the bill establishes $15 million per year for curbside and neighborhood collection programs and $15 million per year in Glass Quality Incentive Payments (QIPs) that will only include glass. used to make beverage containers, excluding cullet used in fiberglass. Additional changes include the elimination of a daily load limit for dealerships delivering returned empty beverage containers to recycling centers. CRV labels on containers will allow QR codes, with manufacturers allowed to self-certify their labels. Wines and spirits are exempt from the new CRV labeling requirements until July 1, 2025.
AB 179 includes more than $233 million in funding for CalRecycle to be used in 2023 for local assistance, beverage container recycling, and waste reduction, including $73 million for start-up costs for things like recycling programs, recycling centers, mobile recycling, reverse vending machines and drop bags and $30 million for start-up loans for processors and recyclers.
Over a three-year period, CRI says the AB 179 would cost $379 million.