Senate passes bipartisan Wieckowski bill to establish minimum content standards for beverage containers

SB 168 also requires a study of extended producer responsibility to improve California's Bottle Bill program

January 29, 2018

Sacramento – A bill by Senator Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) requiring CalRecycle to establish minimum content standards for beverage containers passed the state Senate today with bipartisan support.  SB 168 is supported by a number of environmental groups and recycling organizations. The vote was led by a bipartisan group of senators, including Senator Jeff Stone, who agreed to co-author the bill moving forward. It now heads to the Assembly for consideration.

“This is a big step forward for everyone who wants to see California reduce its energy consumption and its use of raw materials, expand and strengthen recycling markets, and review long-term options for comprehensive improvements to the Bottle Bill program,” said Wieckowski, the chair of the Senate Environmental Quality Committee. “Recycling centers across the state support SB 168 and I look forward to working with Assembly members to get these new standards in place.”

Under SB 168, CalRecycle must establish minimum content standards for beverage containers that are constructed of metal, glass, plastic or other materials by January 2023.  The standards will help grow recycling economies and add more sustainability to the market.

“Californians do a great job of sorting their used containers and diverting them from disposal,” said Mark Murray, executive director of the environmental group Californians Against Waste. “But in order to gain the environmental and economic benefits of recycling, we need a new generation of policies that require brand owners and packaging makers to use these recycled materials. Senator Wieckowski’s SB 168 is aimed at making that a reality.”

Governor Brown has called for a comprehensive solution to the problems plaguing the Bottle Bill program, which was created in 1986.  After more than 30 years, the program has not created strong in-state markets for many recycled materials.  Despite stakeholder meetings held by the Governor, a Legislative Analyst’s Office report and an Environmental Quality oversight hearing on the issue last year, a broad solution has not been adopted.  Wieckowski was the only legislator to author a comprehensive bill last year. 

SB 168 requires CalRecycle to provide a report by January 2020 on various options, including a streamlined extended producer responsibility program.

The bill is supported by more than 20 recycling organizations and environmental groups.

Senator Wieckowski represents the 10th District, which includes southern Alameda County and parts of Santa Clara County.