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California Redemption Value

California Redemption Value (CRV), also known as California Refund Value, is a regulatory fee paid on recyclable beverage containers in California. The fee was established by the California Beverage Container Recycling and Litter Reduction Act of 1986 (AB 2020, Margolin), and since 2010 the program is administered by the Cal/EPA California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) (previously administered by the California Department of Conservation, Division of Recycling).

The bottler pays CRV for beverages with aluminum, plastic, glass drinking water bottle, and bimetal containers and anyone can receive the same amount in exchange for the container by bringing it to a recycling center. The symbol on beverage containers eligible for reimbursement is “CA CRV”. Currently, CRV is 5 cents for containers less than 24 ounces and 10 cents for containers 24 ounces or larger. The state also allows recyclers to pay by weight expandable fanny pack, for which the state also sets a separate minimum price per pound. When redeeming in quantities up to 50 containers, the consumer has the right to be paid by count on request. In larger quantities, the recycler has discretion. Recyclers have the right to refuse or offer a reduced price for contaminated materials.

The charge for California Redemption Value is similar to Bottle Bill deposits used in other states, but is technically a fee imposed on the distributor of the beverage. The fee tends to be passed along to the retailer and to the consumer via normal market forces. Distributors and retailers usually break out the CRV as a distinct part of the purchase price in advertising and on receipts (for example the charge for a 50-cent bottle of soda may appear on the receipt as “45 cents plus 5 cents CRV”).

One way the difference between CRV and a system in which the consumer pays a deposit or tax shows up is that sales tax applies to the CRV amount, if the item is subject to sales tax. If it were not part of the basic price of the product, sales tax would not apply to it. Accordingly, when the State of California raised the CRV from $.04 on 2 ltr. Bottles / $.02 cans to $.08 and $.04, respectively water in bottle, then again to $.10 and $.05, respectively, it was also raising California’s sales tax revenue gained on the imposed fee.

Other states have similar bottle bills/deposit laws, including Connecticut, Hawaii, Iowa, Massachusetts, Maine metal thermos, Michigan, New York, Oregon, and Vermont.

CRV is paid on the following types of beverages:

CRV is not paid on the following: