The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) has introduced new restrictions to its beverage container recycling program, known as the California Redemption Value (CRV) system. Under the program, people returning containers purchased in the state receive 5 cents for containers holding less than 24 ounces and 10 cents for containers holding 24 ounces or more.
Most beverages other than milk, wine and distilled spirits are included in the program, but out-of-state containers are not eligible for CRV, since the recycling fee is added to the price of beverages sold only within California.
Under CalRecycle’s most recent change, anyone transporting into California a load of empty plastic or aluminum beverage containers weighing 25 pounds or more (or 250 pounds or more of glass) is required to pass through a California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) quarantine inspection station to obtain a proof-of-inspection document. A form documenting the source and destination of the material must be completed. The new rules took effect in mid-January 2014.
Other recent changes undertaken by CalRecycle to prevent fraud include new training requirements for operators of recycling centers and processing facilities along with revised regulations that reduce the number of containers an individual can bring to recycling centers in a single day from 500 pounds of aluminum or plastic to 100 pounds and from 2,500 pounds of glass to 1,000 pounds. Those changes took effect Jan. 1, 2014.
“Unscrupulous individuals have taken advantage of our state’s hugely successful recycling program by bringing ineligible containers into California and redeeming them for money from the fund,” says Caroll Mortensen, CalRecycle director. “These regulations strengthen our ability to identify such schemers, and to penalize them if they break the law.”
Importers who fail to accurately complete the required documentation and submit it to a CDFA agent, or who refuse to allow CDFA personnel to inspect the load of empty beverage containers, can be fined up to $1,000 per violation or be prohibited from entering California.
Recycling centers that accept out-of-state material are also subject to civil penalties and could have their certification suspended or revoked. In addition, the California Department of Justice investigates and prosecutes criminal cases on behalf of CalRecycle, which has administrative authority over the state’s beverage container recycling program.