Los Angeles, CA — With two weeks left in the legislative session, Consumer Watchdog today urged Governor Newsom to reform a hopelessly shattered bottle deposit system via a budget trailer bill as the group unveiled the top 10 signs of the system’s collapse.
“We need Governor Newsom to clean up the deposit system’s glaring problems by investing hundreds of millions of dollars in a targeted way,” said Consumer Advocate Liza Tucker. “California needs to join the most progressive bottle deposit states by installing automated technology at redemption centers and at major supermarket chains. Those chains must be required to refund bottle deposits so that returning empties and getting deposit refunds is as easy as buying beverages in the first place.
“Lawmakers are poised to expand the bottle deposit program by passing legislation adding wine and distilled spirits to the bottle deposit system. That’s great but what are some people supposed to do when the nearest redemption center is 50 miles away?”
Over the last decade, the state’s inadequate subsidies have starved a network of redemption centers into closing while supermarkets aren’t universally required to refund bottle deposits. Many that are required refuse. A Story of Stuff Project survey of over 500 California retailers obligated to refund California Redemption Value (CRV) of a nickel or dime found that 100% of Walmarts, 75% of Ralphs and 60% of Costcos illegally turn consumers away.
Top 10 Signs of California’s Shattered Bottle Deposit System:
Only 58% of California CRV containers were redeemed last year, making California 3rd to last among ten bottle deposit states.
Californians paying roughly $1.5 billion in bottle deposits each year get back just little more than half.
Fewer than 550 convenient redemption sites in supermarket parking lots exist to serve 40 million Californians.
Up to two thirds of legally obligated retailers refuse to redeem deposits.
Many residents of rural Northern California must drive up to 50 miles or more to get CRV refunds.
31 out of 58 California counties have five or fewer redemption centers.
60% of Californians would redeem containers if the system was convenient.
Less than one in four Californians redeem bottle deposits while more than three quarters lose CRV to curbside bins.
One third of containers thrown into curbside bins are landfilled while haulers bill the state for CRV.
In 2020, 13.4 billion beverage containers in wound up in landfills, incinerators or as litter .
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