Californias beverage container
recycling rate suffered an alarming
decline in 2000 to 61 percent as more
than six billion containers were thrown
away instead of recycled, according to
figures released today by the California
Department of Conservation.
To stop the drop in
recycling, the department is launching a
campaign to motivate Californians to
Recycling is one of
those things where more is always
better, said Darryl Young, California
Department of Conservation director.
Californians can do more.
The trashed aluminum,
glass and plastic represents an
estimated $158 million in unredeemed
California Refund Value (CRV) deposits.
Laid end-to-end, the unrecycled beverage
containers would circle the earth nearly
The total number of
recycled containers, 10.2 billion in
2000, has remained fairly stable for the
past 10 years. However, last years new
bottle bill added some 3.4 billion
containers to the program. A decline in
the recycling rate was not wholly
unexpected, but the size of the drop
from 74 percent to 61 percent came as
We expected a drop,
but not like this, said Young. Were
Californians, were supposed to know
more about recycling.
The average recycling
rate during the 1990s was 77 percent.
The addition of new CRV containers
many of them plastic, which historically
has been recycled at lower rates than
aluminum is cited by the department as
a primary reason for the decline.
Young also pointed to
the on-the-go lifestyle of many
Californians as a factor. According to
recent focus group research conducted by
the department, Californians are
more mobile than ever
and less likely to recycle while away
from home. Additionally, consumer
beverage consumption in recent years has
grown to include bottled water and
sports drinks, generally marketed in
Many people dont
realize a plastic beverage container is
redeemed for the same value as an
aluminum or glass container, Young
The campaign which
utilizes television, print and radio
advertisements, as well as billboards
and an Internet site (www.bottlesandcans.com)
is designed to motivate Californians
to recycle more.
The theme for the
campaign is Recycle. Its good for the
bottle. Its good for the can.
We need to do more
than raise awareness in the minds of
Californians, we need to change
behavior, Young said. Thats why the
outreach campaign is so important.
California is one of
10 states with a beverage container
recycling program. The Department of
Conservation administers the California
Beverage Container Recycling and Litter
Reduction Act, which became law in 1986.
The primary goal of the act is to
achieve and maintain high recycling
rates for each beverage container type
included in the program.
Consumers pay CRV
(California Refund Value) when they
purchase beverages from a retailer. The
deposits are refunded when empty
containers are redeemed through local
recycling centers. More information on
the state's beverage container recycling
program is available at
www.bottlesandcans.com or by calling
In addition to
promotion of the state's beverage
container recycling program, the
Department of Conservation administers
programs to safeguard agricultural and
open-space land; regulates oil, gas and
geothermal wells in the state; studies
and maps earthquakes, landslides and
mineral resources; and ensures
reclamation of land used for mining.