CalRecycle: Investigate and penalize retailers failing to return deposits on bottles and cans

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    Subject: FW: Tell CalRecycle to Crack Down on Corporate Free Riders
    Hi friend,

    Last year California lost 13 billion bottles and cans to the environment and landfills. We can address this by ensuring retailers are refunding deposits on bottles and cans across the state. I just wrote to CalRecycle to urge them to take action. You can take action here.

    The California bottle bill, which adds a deposit on bottles and cans to incentivize recycling – is one of the state’s bedrock environmental laws, that’s kept billions of plastic bottles from polluting frontline communities and our environment. But with each passing year, it slumps deeper into crisis. 

    The legislation was designed to ensure companies – like beverage manufacturers and retailers selling drinks – play their part in ensuring we reduce pollution. The reality however is that the system is being financed by Californians who oftentimes are paying a deposit without any real prospect of being able to retrieve it.

    Over the last months, our Community has helped to reveal a number of the system’s key failures: 

    • Over two-thirds of California’s “convenience zones” that are designed to have at least one point of return have nowhere to return bottles and cans.
    • 48% of retailers mandated to take back bottles and cans are refusing to do so.
    • The decline in bottles and cans being returned has led to a half-billion-dollar surplus in CalRecycle’s reserves.
    • This has led to over thirteen billion bottles and cans being lost to the system last year alone.

    California frequently cites itself as a leader on plastics reduction measures, but the state’s bottle bill is hitting rock bottom. CalRecycle is the state agency that oversees the statewide bottle bill. Tell CalRecycle to crack down on non-compliant retailers to ensure the program is fit for purpose! 

    P.S. If you’ve tried to redeem deposits on bottles and cans, please add a note to personalize the letter – your experience helps to shine a light on real-world difficulties facing Californians trying to participate in the bottle bill. 

    See our newly released report California's Bottle Bill: The Path to Redemption