Californians recycled a record 82% of beverage contains sold last year.
According to the most recent data reported by the state (CalRecycle), nearly 17 billion of the 21.5 billion containers sold were recycled in fiscal year 2009-10.
California's 5 and 10 cent refund values paid consumers back more than $838 million for recycling, while providing $147 million to curbside recycling programs.
Thanks to the California Beverage Container Recycling and Litter Reduction Act, Californians recycled over one million tons of glass, plastic and aluminum beverage containers that otherwise would have been littered or landfilled, saving natural resources, conserving energy and extending the life of our landfills. According to CalRecycle, that's the equivalent of 7.3 million barrels of oil or 673,000 metric tons of carbon.
The high success rate of the program is due to its convenient recycling infrastructure. All supermarkets in California are required to have a recycling center within a specified area around the store (called a "convenience zone"). If a recycling opportunity does not exist in this zone, then generally the supermarket, and all other retailers that sell beverage containers in that zone, must take back the containers in-store.
In addition, California's Bottle Bill utilizes the state's existing public, private and non-profit recycling infrastructure to provide beverage container recycling. By using the same infrastructure that handles most other recyclables, California's Bottle Bill compliments, rather than competes, with these programs. Furthermore, CA does not require sorting of beverage containers by brand and distributor, thereby reducing cost and increasing efficiency of the program.