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Legislature Considers Short-Term Changes to Bottle Bill Program

June 30, 2017
While the Legislature passed the FY 2017-18 budget several weeks ago, a number of budget-related issues remain under consideration by the Legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown.
One of these issues is the California Beverage Container Recycling Program or “Bottle Bill” program. SB 102 (Budget and Fiscal Review Committee) contains a trailer bill proposal to offer short-term stabilization to this program, while a longer term solution can be negotiated.

As noted by a recent analysis by the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee, over the past 18 months, 560 recycling centers in California have closed due to the lower commodities prices worldwide and an 11 percent reduction in state payments. This has resulted in a recycling rate of below 80 percent for the first time since 2008. During the last six months of 2016, 1.6 million more containers per day were taken to landfills compared to the same period in 2015.
The Legislature, the Administration, and other stakeholders continue to negotiate the proposed short-term solution. Details of the current proposal are as follows:
  • Redefine “convenience zone” to 1 mile radius of supermarket;
  • Narrow grocer obligation: limit in-store take-back to 24 containers, only applies to dealers with sales of $2 million or more;
  • Adjust processing payments & handling fees to reflect 2015 cost of recycling with COLA;
  • Freeze calculations of recycling costs until Jan. 1, 2019 and redirects these funds for these calculations to unserved zones;
  • Makes an entity eligible for handling fees that establishes a recycling in an unserved area that operates at least 30 hours per week;
  • Up to $3 million in supplemental handling fees for underserved/rural areas until July 1, 2020; and
  • Extend sunset date on plastic market development program to Jan. 1, 2019.

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