California’s expanded bottle bill comes with a hefty price tag

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Diving Brief:

  • The new provision on California’s bottle bill, which adds wine and distilled spirits to the program, is expected to increase the state’s glass recycling rate and add funding to recycling programs. The efforts will come with a steep price tag, the Container Recycling Institute said during a financial wrap-up webinar last week.
  • Many provisions in SB 1013 will add nearly $900 million to recycling program expenses over a six-year period, CRI said. An additional $379 million in recycling spending, passed in a separate budget bill AB 179will provide CalRecycle with funding for beverage container recycling and waste reduction efforts.
  • The state’s beverage container fund balance was last reported at $635 million, CRI calculates, and CRI President Susan Collins said the nearly $1.3 billion further spending over the next six years could significantly deplete this fund and prevent the bottle billing program from strengthening effectively. savings for rainy days. “There’s not enough money for everyone,” she said during the webinar.

Overview of the dive:

The bill is one of the most significant changes to the state’s container drop systems in recent years, and supporters say the state has long needed to invest more funds in the program.

The bill adds wine and distilled spirits to the state’s container deposit system beginning Jan. 1, 2024. It will establish a 10-cent redemption value on most bottles, as well as a 25-cent refund. cents on “difficult to recycle” wine. packaging, including boxes, bladders, sachets and similar plastic containers.

Proponents of SB 1013 also claim that the inclusion of wine and liquor bottles will increase the state’s beverage glass recycling rate from about 30% to about 59% while bringing cleaner glass to the recycling. CRI estimates that approximately 500 million additional containers will be recycled each year. CRI also believes collection and collection programs could receive $46 million turnover from wine and spirits bottles.

The bill has received broad support from major carriers like Recology, Republic Services and WM. Environmental groups, glass bottlers like Anheuser-Busch and recycled glass processor Strategic Materials have also backed the bill. Still, groups like Consumer Watchdog said the bill should have dedicated funds to improving access to reimbursement. CRI, originally a major supporter, changed its position to neutralsaying the bill includes too many charges.

Other provisions of the bill include millions of dollars in market development initiatives, grants for the collection, transportation and reuse of recycled glass, and funding for local programs to collect more containers.

Among these provisions, one of the major spending items in the bill is a market development payment, which directs CalRecycle will provide a total of $60 million per year through the end of 2027 to manufacturers who purchase recycled glass collected in California for use in new beverage containers.

The law also directs CalRecycle to form three glass processing incentive grants totaling $9 million per year. One provides up to $4 million a year to encourage the use of cullet in new bottles; the second provides $4 million per year for regional pilot program grants providing glass collection bins in restaurants and other retail outlets. The third, an annual grant of $1 million, aims to encourage the use of rail transportation to move empty glass containers to processing facilities. Collins said the three grant programs will take effect Jan. 1, 2023, a year before CRI expects to see higher volumes of glass containers entering the recycling stream.

CalRecycle will also spend $15 million annually on curbside and neighborhood collection programs. Further funding would bolster statewide recycling education and other community recycling initiatives and waste reduction programs.

In addition to the container deposit system and related efforts receiving funding in SB 1013, the California budget bill provides more than $233 million in funding for CalRecycle to be used in 2023 for container recycling. beverages and waste reduction efforts. Over a three-year period, the recycling provisions in the budget bill will total nearly $380 million, CRI estimates.

The 2023 prize pool includes $73.3 million for start-up costs for recycling programs, recycling centers, mobile recycling, reverse vending machines and bag depots, dealer co-ops and equipment. It is also asking for $30 million for start-up loans for processors and recyclers.

An additional $25 million next year would fund deposit system plans that incorporate reusable containers, which Collins says is a significant investment in reusable packaging infrastructure.

“I’m really excited to see what California can do to build new renewable energy infrastructure. We have never seen [support] like that all over the country,” she said.

The budget bill also provides funding for workforce development and plastics market development programs — projects on which CRI is neutral — but Collins said the organization believes that additional funding combined $90 million for quality premiums “is not an effective use of funds.”

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