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March 11, 2009 > Should Wine and Liquor Containers be subject to CRV?

Should Wine and Liquor Containers be subject to CRV?

By Simon Wong

California Redemption Value (CRV) is a deposit paid by consumers when purchasing certain recyclable beverage containers in California. Consumers can be reimbursed if they take aluminum, plastic, glass or bimetal containers to a recycling center. CRV legislation aims to encourage recycling, reduce litter and generate revenue from unclaimed redemptions and sales tax on the CRV.

The California Refund Value is the amount that a recycling center pays to the consumer for empty bottles and cans. It is often confused with California Redemption Value. At times, redemption and refund amounts have differed but, currently, are the same as each other and the acronym "CRV" refers to either.

The State of California passed the 1986 Beverage Container Recycling and Litter Reduction Act which enacted the CRV program in 1987. Initially, the "bottle bill' applied only to containers of carbonated beverages but was updated in 2000 to include other beverage containers. Currently the Redemption and Refund Values are $0.05 cents for containers less than 24 oz and $0.10 for containers more than 24 oz.

CRV is paid on carbonated and still water, carbonated and still soft drinks and sports drinks, coffee and tea, beer and other malt beverages and chocolate milk or other flavored milks.

CRV is not paid on white milk, medical food, baby formula, wine, distilled spirits, 100% fruit juice in containers 46 oz or more, vegetable juice in containers larger than 16 oz, beverages in large-size containers that are refillable, products not in liquid or "ready to drink" form, products not intended for human consumption, containers not made of glass, metal or plastic.

Union City Councilman Richard Valle has drafted a resolution urging the California State Legislature to introduce and support legislation to include wine and liquor bottles in the Beverage Container Recycling and Litter Reduction Act.

Almost 500,000 tons of non-CRV wine and liquor containers are distributed annually in the State. Less than 30 percent of non-CRV glass containers are recycled compared to almost 70 percent of CRV glass containers.

Valle reckons that inclusion of wine and liquor bottles in the CRV Program would increase California's total glass recycling by up to 200,000 tons annually. Recycling more glass will reduce energy consumption, conserve natural resources, reduce the amount of recyclable materials that end up in landfills and create "green" jobs. Currently such bottles account for a large proportion of litter in our cities.

Councilman Valle is also enlisting the support of other cities throughout California to lobby the State Assembly and Senate.

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