Recycling Facilities Brief

Recycling Facility Regulation

Several local governments are looking to regulate recycling facilities in their jurisdictions in order to ensure appropriate operations. While CGA appreciates ensuring recycling facilities minimize their impact, over regulation can lead to drastic impacts for grocery stores.

State law mandates a California Redemption Value (CRV) deposit paid on beverage containers, either 5 or 10-cents depending on the product purchased. Since this is a deposit consumers must have an opportunity to receive their deposit back.

In order to ensure equal access to recycling facilities the state has created convenience zones (CZ) which is the area in a one-half mile circle around a supermarket that has annual sales of two million dollars or more. This definition includes nearly all full-service grocery stores, but does not include convenience stores, liquor stores and most neighborhood markets.

Every qualifying store must be located within a CZ. If a store is not located within a CZ they have two choices:

A.     Redeem all empty CRV beverage containers brought to the store during regular business hours by consumers. This involves hand counting used containers, paying customers the CRV refund amount and storing beverage containers until they could be taken to a certified recycling center.

B.      Pay $100 per day to the State of California. By paying $100 per day, a store is relieved of its legal obligation to redeem empty beverage containers in-store.

If a local government regulates recycling facilities in a manner that prevents locating a certified recycling centers within a CZ grocers are forced with used beverage containers inside the store, which is a threat to health and safety, or they are forced to pay the $100 a day which equates to $36,500 a day which is not acceptable.

It is important that local government allow convenience zones to be served by state-certified recyclers in order to fulfill our obligation under state law. Limitations which could eliminate CZ recyclers include:

  • Restrictions for locating in retail centers or in parking lots of retail operations.
  • Limitations on operating hours or recyclable products being accepted.
  • Restrictions in regards to type of structure and design.
  • Limitation on amount of recycling facilities in the jurisdiction.

CGA and the grocery industry want recycling facilities to be responsibly operated at the same time retain the ability to be served by state-certified recycling center in order to avoid unnecessary costs and mandates.