California Redemption Value
California Redemption Value (CRV), also known as California Refund Value, is a regulatory fee paid on recyclable beverage containers in California. The fee was established by the California Beverage Container Recycling and Litter Reduction Act of 1986 (AB 2020, Margolin), and since 2010 the program is administered by the Cal/EPA California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) (previously administered by the California Department of Conservation, Division of Recycling).
The bottler pays CRV for 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 US fluid ounces (710 ml) and 10 cents for containers 24 US fluid ounces (710 ml) or larger. The state also allows recyclers to pay by weight, for which the state also sets a separate minimum price per pound (kg). When redeeming in quantities up to 50 containers, the consumer has the right to be paid by count on request. In larger quantities, the recycler has discretion. Recyclers have the right to refuse or offer a reduced price for contaminated materials. It is illegal to bring in out of state cans or bottles to California to recoup the CRV and violators can be charged with fraud, a felony.
The charge for California Redemption Value is similar to bottle bill deposits used in other states, but is technically a fee imposed on the distributor of the beverage. The fee 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").
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 the item is subject to sales tax. 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 L 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.
Other states have similar bottle bills/deposit laws, including Connecticut, Hawaii, Iowa, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, New York, Oregon, and Vermont.
Types of beverages
CRV is paid on the following types of beverages:
- Carbonated and noncarbonated water
- Carbonated and noncarbonated soft drinks, energy drinks, and sport drinks
- Coffee and tea drinks
- Beer and other malt beverages
- 100% fruit juice in containers smaller than 46 US fluid ounces (1,400 ml).
CRV is not paid on the following:
- Milk, white or flavored
- Medical food
- Infant formula
- Distilled Spirits Coolers (not distilled spirits)
- 100% fruit juice in containers 46 US fluid ounces (1,400 ml) or more
- 100% vegetable juice in containers more than 16 US fluid ounces (470 ml)
- Products not in liquid or "ready to drink" form
- Products not intended for human consumption
- Containers not made of glass, metal, or plastic
- "Beverage Container Recycling". California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery. Retrieved 2015-05-08.
- "Beverage Container Recycling". California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery. Retrieved 2014-09-08.
- "California laws on recycling bottles from Nevada". SFGate.com. Retrieved June 30, 2018.
- "Bottle Bill Resource Guide". Container Recycling Institute. Retrieved 2014-09-08.
- "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on October 10, 2009. Retrieved August 24, 2009.
- Find a CRV recycling center by zipcode
- "California's Bottle & Can Recycling Law--The Bottle" at "Californians Against Waste"
- Program Info