Culver City Signs on for CalRecycle Pilot Programs for Convenient Bottle Redemption

Redeeming bottles and cans will soon get much easier for nearly 900,000 Californians living in San Francisco and the Los Angeles County community of Culver City.

The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) just approved two new pilot projects, including "mobile takeback" and "bag-drop collection" programs, as the state explores new models to boost consumer access to recycling California Redemption Value (CRV) bottles and cans. Successful projects could serve as new models for more convenient redemption statewide.

Culver City's pilot project features a mobile redemption center that will rotate between two selected locations six days a week for a total of 43 hours. The city and pilot project recycler may add additional locations in the future. Culver City currently has 16 unserved convenience zones with 90 CRV beverage retailers within those zones.

"California takes consumer redemption convenience very seriously, and these local pilot programs are tailored to address community needs like high rent costs and profit declines due to volatile scrap markets," CalRecycle Acting Director Ken DaRosa said. "The state responded to the sudden closure of 281 recycling centers last August by increasing enforcement and legislating funds for this program to support innovative new redemption options for underserved communities."

The Beverage Container Recycling Pilot Program, created by Senate Bill 458 (Wiener, Chapter 648, Statutes of 2017), authorizes CalRecycle to approve up to five pilot projects proposed by local jurisdictions to explore innovative, new models for CRV redemption in underserved areas. Assembly Bill 54 (Ting, Chapter 793, Statutes of 2019) made changes to the pilot program to allow for greater flexibility and to provide up to $5 million in funding for approved projects.

The law grants pilot projects more flexible operating requirements compared to traditional certified recyclers. In addition to these two projects, CalRecycle can approve and provide funding for three more pilot projects before 2022 for other California communities who want to innovate CRV redemption models to fit their specific needs.

Pilot project start dates will vary based on the application approval of pilot project recyclers. Once pilot programs commence, all convenience zones within the program area will be considered served, relieving CRV retailers of their obligation to either redeem containers in-store or pay a $100-per-day fee.

The pilot projects will operate until July 1, 2022.

Californians have recycled more than 400 billion bottles and cans since the inception of the Beverage Container Recycling Program in 1986. The state's beverage container recycling rate increased from 52 percent in 1988 to its current rate of 76 percent. Californians recycled 18.5 billion of the 24 billion CRV beverage containers they purchased in 2018. The state is on track to match that recycling volume in 2019.

California's Beverage Container Recycling and Litter Reduction Act established a deposit on beverage containers, the California Redemption Value (CRV), to incentivize recycling and reduce litter. Beverage containers can be redeemed at CalRecycle-certified recycling centers or obligated retailers.

Californians are encouraged to report issues with CRV redemption to CalRecycle's toll free number (1-800-RECYCLE) or via email at


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