California Redemption Value
California Redemption Value (CRV) is a tax paid on sales of certain recyclable beverage containers in California. The bottler pays CRV on the purchase of beverages with aluminum, plastic, glass, and bimetal containers and anyone can receive the same amount in exchange for the container by bringing it to a recycling center. The symbol on beverage containers eligible for reimbursement is "CA CRV". Currently, CRV is 5 cents for containers less than 24 ounces and 10 cents for containers 24 ounces or larger.
The charge for California Redemption Value is similar to deposits used in other states, but is technically a tax imposed on the distributor of the beverage. The tax tends to be passed along to the retailer and to the consumer via normal market forces. Distributors and retailers usually break out the CRV as a distinct part of the purchase price in advertising and on receipts (for example the charge for a 50-cent bottle of soda may appear on the receipt as "45 cents plus 5 cents CRV"). This is to make it clear that the money ends up in the state's recycling program, but the buyer is not legally doing anything other than paying a higher asking price for the product.
One way the difference between CRV and a system in which the consumer pays a deposit or tax shows up is that sales tax applies to the CRV amount. If it were not part of the basic price of the product, sales tax would not apply to it. Accordingly, when the State of California raised the CRV from $.04 on 2 ltr. Bottles / $.02 cans to $.08 and $.04, respectively, then again to $.10 and $.05, respectively, it was also raising California's sales tax revenue gained on the imposed fee. Many consumers are unaware they are taxed on these fees.
California Redemption Value is easily confused with California Refund Value, which is the amount recycling centers pay to consumers in exchange for empty bottles and cans. This discrepancy is usually unimportant because the redemption (or deposit) value is usually the same as the refund value, although they are different at times. The initialism "CRV" is often used to denote either.
Types of beverages
CRV is paid on the following types of beverages:
- Carbonated and noncarbonated water
- Carbonated and noncarbonated soft drinks and sport drinks
- Coffee and tea drinks
- Beer and other malt beverages
- 100% fruit juice in containers smaller than 46 fl oz.
CRV is not paid on the following:
- Milk, white or flavored
- Medical food
- Infant formula
- Distilled spirits
- 100% fruit juice in containers 46 fl oz or more
- 100% vegetable juice in containers more than 16 fl oz
- Products not in liquid or "ready to drink" form
- Products not intended for human consumption
- Containers not made of glass, metal, or plastic