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Wine and liquor bottles can soon be recycled for cash in California. How much can you get?

California is making changes to its bottle deposit law — ones that could put extra money in your pocket.

Residents soon can turn in wine bottles, liquor bottles and other large beverage containers for cash.

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed one measure amending the so-called California Bottle Bill into law in September 2022 and another in October.

The changes go into effect at the start of January.

“Adding more alcohol and juice containers on Jan. 1 is the first of several changes we’re rolling out to make recycling easier for Californians,” CalRecycle Director Rachel Machi Wagoner said in a news release.

Here’s which containers you can receive deposits for beginning next year, and how much you can get when you recycle them:

How does California bottle recycling bill work?

The California Beverage Container Recycling and Litter Reduction Act, as the California Bottle Bill is formally known, was enacted in 1987, according to Californians Against Waste, a nonprofit environmental research and advocacy organization.

It created a deposit program in the state, known as the California Redemption Value program.

According to CalRecyle, consumers pay a CRV fee when they purchase glass, plastic or aluminum beverage containers.

This deposit is either returned to consumers when they recycle their containers, or is “donated” to a curbside operator or nonprofit recycler, Californians Against Waste said.

Containers under 24 ounces have a CRV value of 5 cents, CalRecycle said, while larger containers can be redeemed for 10 cents apiece.

Beverage distributors pay the deposit money into a state fund that in turn pays recycling centers taking part in the redemption program.

How is California Bottle Bill changing?

The changes to the CRV law will make wine bottles, wine boxes, liquor bottles and large juice containers eligible for deposit. That includes the plastic pouches found inside boxes of wine.

The wine industry had resisted placing deposits on its containers.

However, The Wine Institute based in San Francisco, said in 2022 that several amendments to the bill made it palatable. The amendments include allotting money to add more redemption centers and to expand the capacity of recyclers.

California will use $285 million from new funding for recycling expansion projects, including beverage container recycling business start-up costs and hassle-free redemption methods —such as reverse vending machines, mobile recycling and bag-drop recycling, according to the CalRecycle news release.

The funds — plus additional Plastic Market Development payments — were allocated by legislature to come from the Beverage Container Recycling Program fund to support California Bottle Bill upgrades, according to CalRecycle.

California is making changes to it’s Bottle Bill beginning January 2023.
California is making changes to it’s Bottle Bill beginning January 2023.

How much can you get for redeeming wine, liquor containers?

Under Senate Bill 1013 and Senate Bill 353, wine, liquor, alcoholic cooler and juice containers holding less than 24 ounces are each eligible for a 5-cent deposit, according to CalRecycle. Those holding 24 ounces or more can be redeemed for 10 cents.

Pouches, boxes and cartons holding wine and liquor can be redeemed for a deposit of 25 cents.

The deposit can be redeemed whether or not the containers have the CRV label, according to the release.

Retailers in California are required to have a recycling center within a specified area around the store — called a “convenience zone,” according to Californians Against Waste.

All retailers in areas without recycling centers must redeem the deposits in-store, or join new dealer cooperative systems starting Jan. 1, 2025, the release said.

When do CRV changes go into effect?

The measures reforming the California Bottle Bill go into effect on New Year’s Day, Jan. 1, 2024.

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