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Californians recycle record number of containers

SACRAMENTO — Between January and June Californians recycled a record 7.6 billion beverage containers, raising the six-month California Refund Value (CRV) recycling rate to 76 percent.

The jump is an increase of nearly 600 million beverage containers over the same period in 2007, when the recycling rate was 71 percent.

“This is an extraordinary accomplishment in a very short time,” Department of Conservation (DOC) Director Bridgett Luther said. “Californians have really stepped up their recycling efforts and data shows we are on pace to set an all-time high for beverage container recycling volume in 2008.

“This means an all-time high in energy savings, natural resource conservation and greenhouse gas reductions. It also means significant cash refunds for consumers who take their bottles and cans to recycling centers.”

Recycling rates were up for all material types: aluminum rose to 85 percent, compared to 83 percent between January and June 2007; glass rose to 79 percent from 71; and the most common plastic, No. 1 PET, increased to 63 percent from fifty-eight.

The increased recycling rate represents a 16-percentage-point surge since Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger enacted legislation (AB 3056, Hancock) in January 2007 to increase the CRV payout from four to five cents for beverage containers under 24 oz. and from eight to 10 cents for containers 24 oz. and greater.

Most beverages packaged in glass, aluminum and plastic are included in the CRV program. Notable exceptions are milk, wine and distilled spirits.

DOC reports biannually on the redemption and recycling rates for each six-month period within a particular year and for each full calendar year.

To find nearby beverage container buy-back centers, consumers can visit or call the DOC toll-free hotline at (800) 732-9253.

All aspects of California’s beverage container recycling program are paid for with unclaimed refunds from discarded CRV beverage containers, at no cost to the state’s general fund.

For more information about DOC programs, visit


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