SACRAMENTO (CBS SF) — The California State Senate passed a bill Thursday that reforms the state’s regulations on recycling bottles, holding beverage distributors responsible for upping the number of containers being recycled.
The bill, SB 38, undoes the protocols instituted by the state’s “Bottle Bill” and transitions California to a stewardship system molded by the beverage industry under the oversight of Cal Recycle.READ MORE: UPDATE: Fire Destroys 2 Pleasant Hill Homes; Resident Still Missing, Firefighter Suffers Burns
“This is a great day for California consumers because the state Senate went on record in support of bringing our outdated recycling system into the 21st century,” said State Sen. Bob Wieckowski, a member of the Senate’s Environmental Quality Committee. “If we are serious about creating a circular economy, we must support SB 38. Putting more Band-Aids on the status quo might make the special interests who support it and prosper from it feel good, but it will not make it more convenient for consumers to find redemption sites.”
Since 1987, the controversial “Bottle Bill” put the responsibility of recycling bottles on the state and its residents. Part of purchasing a beverage was a deposit on the bottle that was $.05 for bottles under 24 ounces and $.10 for bottles equal to or over that amount.READ MORE: Drought: Transbay Pipeline, Desalination Plant Could Boost Marin's Dwindling Water Supply
But in recent years, the state’s landfills have been filling up with bottles. The nonprofit Consumer Watchdog notes that California ranks third to last in redemption rates among bottle deposit states, because of the insufficient number of redemption locations and consumers’ inability to redeem their deposits.
“SB 38 will fix California’s broken bottle deposit law and put our redemption system in line with every other successful bottle deposit system in the state and world,” said Jamie Court, president of Consumer Watchdog. “With a 57% redemption rate for 2020, Californians forfeited more than one half billion dollars in bottle deposits and added to pollution and climate change. SB 38 will create convenient opportunities for redemption and incentives to get consumers their bottle and can deposits back at a rate of 85% or more, like other successful bottle deposit states.”MORE NEWS: U.S. Supreme Court Sides With College Athletes In Key Compensation Case
SB 38 will go before the state assembly before it reaches the desk of the governor, who is expected to sign it into law.