By Shawnte Passmore, KMAX CBS TV Sacramento, CA
September 6, 2022
SACRAMENTO - Lawmakers are hoping the governor signs a bill to expand the state's recycling program.
The goal is to increase glass recycling.
You know you can recycle your cans and bottles. But wine drinkers may also be able to cash in their bottles of red and white wine.
"It's going to mean that we bring more tens of millions of dollars to the system – to run it," said Liza Tucker, a consumer advocate for the group, Consumer Watchdog.
If the governor signs SB1013, Californians would be able to reclaim their deposits from wine and spirit bottles beginning in 2024.
Consumer Watchdog supports the idea but raises concerns.
It wants more convenient ways to recycle and questions where some of that money is going.
"0It includes a lot of money for special interests," Tucker said.
The bill would incentivize companies to use cullet, known as recycled glass, for their bottles.
It would distribute market development payments to companies like Modesto-based Gallo Winery, which already recycles glass.
"The reality is we got to scale this up," said State Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, who co-wrote the bill.
Lawmakers say companies want to expand their use of cullet. The payments would end in 2028.
The legislation authorizes CalRecycle to spend up to $60 million annually.
The payments would come from the nickels and dimes left on the table by people who have not reclaimed their deposits.
A surplus of $635 million dollars sits in the bottle-deposit program.
A Gallo Winery spokesperson declined to comment.
Co-author of the bill Asm. Jacqui Irwin, D-Oxnard, said the update to the Bottle Bill was long overdue.
The bill passed unanimously in the Assembly and Senate.
In a statement, the bill's main author Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins, D-San Diego, defended the payments.
"California's bottle bill recycling program has needed fixing for 40 years," she said. "With SB 1013, not only are we putting in place the tools to tackle recycling a half billion glass bottles a year, but we are also creating the opportunity to keep recycled glass and manufacturing jobs here in California instead of sending it overseas."
One thing lawmakers and critics agree on is the recycling program needs fixing.
CalRecycle reports the recycling rate is 68 percent, but Consumer Watchdog says the redemption rate is 58 percent.
The real test is would this bill boost recycling?
I think it will, Sen. Dodd said.