Different beverage containers, metal, glass and plastic.

SB 1013 brought more container types into the California Redemption Value system but also removed an option for retailers to choose to pay a $100 daily fee instead of accepting returned containers. | VanderWolf/Shutterstock

Formal rulemaking for changes to California’s deposit system is about to begin, and draft rules shed more light on new requirements for beverage dealers and retailers.

Passed in 2022, SB 1013 brought more container types into the California Redemption Value system but also authorized market development initiatives and processing infrastructure improvements for recovered glass, created several grant programs and removed an option for retailers to choose to pay a $100 daily fee instead of accepting returned containers.

Now retailers that do not have a certified recycling center within a specified distance, called a convenience zone, are required to either accept containers individually in-store or join a dealer cooperative to streamline acceptance. 

In a press release, the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery noted that the law and draft regulations “will bring more recycling sites to the state with new ways to redeem, including mobile recycling centers, reverse vending machines and recycling drop-off stations.”

The draft rules released by CalRecycle laid out the requirements for the dealer cooperatives, which are similar to a producer responsibility organization under extended producer responsibility laws. 

The draft rules require a minimum of one innovative method of redemption per convenience zone. Innovative methods are defined as mobile collection programs in which beverage containers are picked up from consumers or any method of redemption that does not require an attendant to accept materials, such as bag drops or reverse vending machines.

The dealer cooperative stewardship plans must include information on how the cooperative will create capability to provide convenient redemption of 100% of the beverage containers sold by dealer members into convenience zones and how the cooperative will address factors that affect consumer convenience, such as safety, cleanliness, parking availability and accessibility via public transportation or walking. 

A minimum redemption target of 80% of the beverage containers sold by dealer members into convenience zones is also set in the draft rules. 

Finally, the dealer cooperatives must report on the average wait time for a consumer to redeem a beverage container; the total number of empty beverage containers redeemed per month, by material type and collection method; the amount of refund value payments made to consumers by month; and the total weight of all material received for which no refund value was paid and an explanation of why the material was deemed ineligible for payment. 

A public comment period on the draft rules will open after they are published by the Office of Administrative Law. 

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