The initial list was published in December 2023 and had 98 categories, while the updated list has 94 as some materials were double-listed. | Joseph_Sohm/Shutterstock

The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery released an updated version of the list of materials covered under its extended producer responsibility program for packaging, making nearly 30 tweaks to the list. 

The initial list was published on Dec. 28, 2023 and by statute was required to be formally published by July 1, 2024. The updated list has 94 categories, while the first list had 98. Some categories, such as some fiber types, were originally double-listed, CalRecycle clarified. 

Changes to the list include removing “ceramics” from all six glass categories and giving it matching but separate categories, changing language in the small metal category from “no side greater than 2 inches” to “two or more sides measuring 2 inches or less,” greater differentiation in the fiber categories and replacing “thermoformed” with “rigid” in the plastics categories. 

Producers of the listed packaging types will be required to fund collection and recycling of those materials under the state’s EPR law, known as SB 54, beginning in 2027. CalRecycle noted that “this document provides an update of covered material categories. However, it does not include an update to determinations of recyclability or compostability.” 

The recyclability and compostability determinations will instead be updated annually starting Jan. 1, 2025. Materials that are not collected for recycling in jurisdictions that collectively encompass at least 60% of the population of the state and that are not sorted and sent for recycling by large volume transfer stations that serve at least 60% of the recycling programs statewide will not be considered recyclable and may be subject to sales restrictions. 

In the December list, CalRecycle determined the following to be recyclable, all with and without plastic components: glass bottles and jars; non-aerosol aluminum containers; aluminum foil sheets; aluminum foil molded containers; aerosol aluminum cans; kraft paper; OCC; paperboard; white paper; mixed paper; colored and natural PET bottles, jugs, jars and thermoformed containers; colored and natural HDPE bottles, jugs, jars, pails and buckets; and PP bottles, jugs, jars and thermoformed containers. 

Molded fiber packaging without plastic components is also considered recyclable.

Ceramics, tin, steel, bi-metal, multi-material laminates, waxed OCC, PET or HDPE film and flexibles, PVC, LDPE, PP utensils or films, PS, plastics and polymers designed for potential compostability, plastic textiles and wood are not designated as recyclable, according to the published list.

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