California Redemption Value

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California Redemption Value (CRV), also known as California Refund Value, is a regulatory fee[1] 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 has been administered by the Cal/EPA California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) (it was previously administered by the California Department of Conservation, Division of Recycling).[2]

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.[3] 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.[4] 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.[5]

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.[6] 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 $0.04 on 2 L bottles and $0.02 on cans to $0.08 and $0.04, respectively, then again to $0.10 and $0.05, 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.[7]

Fresno State had trash bins along with dedicated beverage containers recycling receptacles. Despite their best effort to secure them against theft including keeping them under lock and key, they were forced to remove the beverage receptacles as for "vagrants would break the locks and steal the contents", according to Fresno State's manager for office of environmental health safety, risk management and sustainability.[8]

Types of beverages[edit]

CRV is paid on the following types of beverages:

CRV is not paid on the following:

  • Milk, white or flavored
  • Medical food
  • Infant formula
  • Wine
  • Distilled spirits
  • 100% fruit juice in containers 46 US fluid ounces (1,400 ml) or more[10]
  • 100% vegetable juice in containers more than 16 US fluid ounces (470 ml)[10]
  • Products not in liquid or "ready to drink" form
  • Products not intended for human consumption
  • Containers not made of glass, metal, or plastic

Recycling Centers[edit]

In August 2019, California's largest recycling redemption and processing centers operator, RePlanet, announced closing all 284 of its remaining centers, ceasing operations, terminating 750 employees, and beginning the process of liquidating assets to pay creditors, because of continued reduction in State fees, the depressed pricing of recycled aluminum and PET plastic, and the rise in operating costs.[11] In February 2016, RePlanet had closed 191 recycling centers and terminated nearly 300 employees in smaller communities across California, due to the same causes.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Beverage Container Recycling". California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery. Retrieved May 8, 2015.
  2. ^ "Beverage Container Recycling". California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery. Retrieved September 8, 2014.
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ "California laws on recycling bottles from Nevada". Retrieved June 30, 2018.
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Bottle Bill Resource Guide". Container Recycling Institute. Retrieved September 8, 2014.
  8. ^ Karby, Marcus (September 2, 2016). "The mystery behind the lack of recycling bins". The Collegian. Retrieved May 26, 2019.
  9. ^ "Calrecycle faq". Retrieved August 10, 2019.
  10. ^ a b c "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on October 10, 2009. Retrieved August 24, 2009.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^
  12. ^

External links[edit]