Wieckowski introduces new bill to transform beverage recycling system

December 7, 2020

Sacramento – Seeking to transform the state’s deteriorating beverage container recycling system, Senator Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) introduced new legislation today that would shift responsibility for the program from consumers to distributors. The new streamlined stewardship program would be modeled after Oregon’s system, which promotes Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR).   

“We cannot continue to ignore that our beverage recycling system is crumbling before our eyes, nor can we ignore the growing frustration of consumers who are unable to redeem value for their recycling efforts,” said Wieckowski, chair of the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Subcommittee on Resources, Environmental Protection, Energy and Transportation. “We need to put customer convenience first. Instead of consumers subsidizing the system, my bill will put money back into the hands of consumers, who are currently shouldering the load of our antiquated program.”

Under the new bill, distributors of beverages must form a Beverage Container Stewardship Organization. The organization must then submit a plan and budget for the redemption and recycling of beverage containers to be approved by CalRecycle. 

Oregon created the Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative that is run by distributors and retailers and has twice as many locations than California for consumers to turn in their beverage containers.  Companies such as Waste Management, Coca Cola, Safeway and Whole Foods are among the participants in the Oregon program.

“The California Product Stewardship Council supports Sen. Wieckowski’s bill in concept and appreciates his continued leadership on Extended Producer Responsibility issues,” CPSC’s Executive Director Doug Kobold said. “Transforming our waste management system to rely on producer responsibility is one of CPSC’s core focus areas and we support the Senator’s commitment to increase environmental sustainability in California.”

The CPSC honored Wieckowski today with its 2020 Legislative Leadership Award, in recognition of his years promoting Extended Producer Responsibility.

Wieckowski said his legislation builds on recommendations from legislative oversight hearings on recycling.

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