Governor Newsom signed AB 962 on October 5, 2021. The Surfrider Foundation worked closely with the bill co-sponsors, allies, and coalitions to advocate for this legislation through our California chapters and powerful grassroots activist network.
Over 25 billion single-use beverage bottles flow through California's Beverage Container Recycling Program every year, while 450,000 tons of non-CRV glass, aluminum, paperboard, plastic, and plastic-coated paper single-use beverage containers are still disposed of annually (36,000 16-ounce plastic bottles = 1 ton). That's a lot of beverage bottles ending up in the landfill!
AB 962 requires the creation of a returnable bottle system in California by January 1, 2024. The law allows for the preservation of bottles so that they can be washed and refilled by beverage producers rather than being crushed for recycling. It also allows for returnable bottles to flow through the state's Beverage Container Recycling Program (CRV/Bottle Bill). This law evens the playing field between bottle washers and recyclers by paying the same amount.
Returnable bottle operations create new jobs, reduces waste, and is better for our community and environment. Reuse systems can create as many as 30 times more jobs than landfills. Also, according to a report by the Container Recycling Institute, returnable glass bottles use approximately 93% less energy and 47-82% less water, depending on the number of reuses.