Push is on to expand beverage container recycling

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, Oct. 9, 2014 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

In its latest report focused on beverage container recycling, Californians Against Waste (CAW) found that not all material intended for recycling is actually being recycled. While the recycling program remains strong and containers are accepted for recycling by approximately two-thirds of communities across the state, the report cited less than three percent of the two billion items in circulation are recycled each year.

The multi-year two million dollar initiative by container manufacturers to increase the recyclability of poly-coated paperboard beverage cartons has been met with skepticism. A spokesman for CalRecycle noted that curbside collection is high, but actual recycling relies on processing capabilities at individual material recovery facilities (MRF).

To address the problem, CAW is contemplating another legislative push to expand the materials covered under the Beverage Container Recycling Program and subject to California Redemption Value as a way to incentivize processing facilities to increase recycling rates for the containers. For the most part, containers currently in the program include aluminum cans, glass and plastic bottles, but wine and distilled spirits bottles are exempt.

Opposition to the measure, including many MRFs, argue that the cost to process the containers simply does not match the return value. Some noted certain materials have more intrinsic value than others and that not all will have a market when recycled. Further, critics worry that processors’ costs would simply be passed on to consumers. Proponents believe that processing costs should fall to container manufacturers and sellers.

For more information, please see: http://www.cawrecycles.org/files/Snapshot_of_Carton_Recycling.pdf

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