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April 11, 2017 > Legislator hopes to update CaliforniaÕs bottle recycling program

Legislator hopes to update CaliforniaÕs bottle recycling program

Submitted By Jeff Barbosa

Senator Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont), chair of the Senate Environmental Quality Committee, has introduced legislation for a comprehensive overhaul of CaliforniaÕs antiquated bottle recycling program.

Senate Bill 168, amended April 6, establishes a new streamlined stewardship program that reduces the Department of Resources, Recycling and RecoveryÕs (CalRecycle) administrative role.

ÒSB 168 is in line with Governor BrownÕs call for a comprehensive solution to the problems plaguing todayÕs outdated system,Ó Wieckowski said. ÒAfter more than 30 years, it is time to move beyond tinkering with the status quo. The system is convoluted and mired in periodic structural deficits.Ó

Building on recommendations from the GovernorÕs stakeholder meetings, the Legislative AnalystÕs Office, and the Senate Environmental Quality Committee oversight hearing on recycling in February, Wieckowski said the bill creates a product stewardship model, approved by CalRecycle that places redemption and recycling responsibilities on those who are distributing beverages inside California. The idea behind the process is to reduce the stateÕs bureaucratic functions. ÒCalRecycleÕs focus will be where it is most efficient -- on oversight and enforcement of the recycling program -- not administering a bureaucracy,Ó Wieckowski said.Ó

Under SB 168, distributors must form a Beverage Container Stewardship Organization (BCSO) by October 2018 to develop, implement, and administer a beverage container stewardship program.

CalRecycle would notify the BCSO of its decision whether to certify the organization. CalRecyle would also review the BCSOÕs redemption and recycling plan for approval. Distributors and dealers would be prohibited from distributing or selling their beverages in California unless they are in compliance.

On or before 2020, CalRecycle, in consultation with the BCSO, would adopt regulations for the orderly transition from the current Bottle Bill to the Beverage Container Stewardship Program. On Jan. 1, 2021, the new stewardship program would take effect.
ÒWe cannot continue to apply temporary, stop-gap solutions to this system and expect its problems to disappear,Ó Wieckowski said. ÒA new and improved stewardship model is needed to adapt to todayÕs changes in recycling. It is time to can the old program, and usher in a new program based on extended producer responsibility, accountability, and efficiency.Ó

Wieckowski represents the 10th District, which includes parts of Alameda County and Santa Clara County.

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