The next time you enjoy a frosty beverage, take a closer look at
the label. If you see a symbol that says CA CASH REFUND or CA CRV,
"California Redemption Value," "CA Redemption Value" or "California Cash
Refund." you’ll get more out of that bottle or can than a little
refreshment. That symbol means the container is eligible to be recycled
for cash, and will get you 5˘ for most glass or plastic bottles and
aluminum cans less than 24 ounces, 10˘ for the larger ones. Most
beverages other than milk, wine and distilled spirits are subject to CRV.
So where does this money come from? Actually, it’s added to the
price of the beverage when you buy it. You get it back when you bring
containers to a recycling center. The CRV from containers placed in
curbside or public recycling bins is claimed by the entity that collects
The great thing is, you don't have to go far out of your way to
recycle. There are recycling centers all over the state, many
conveniently located near the places you live and work.
How Can I Find A Buy Back Center?
Recycling centers are not owned or operated by the State of
California. All recycling center days and hours of operation are
determined and overseen by the individual recycling center operator and
must be posted at the center. Centers are required to be open a minimum
of 30 hours per week, at least five days a week, and at least one
weekend day. Please contact your local recycling center to find out
their days and hours of operation. If you would like to report a
recycling center closure or file a formal complaint regarding a
certified recycling center, please contact the Department of
Conservation at 1-800-RECYCLE.
Can I be paid per container?
Consumers also have the option of being paid on a per-container
basis if they bring in 50 or fewer CRV containers of each material type.
Recycling centers are required to comply with this request.
How much do recycling centers pay per pound?
Recycling centers are allowed to pay by weight as a matter of
business efficiency. The Department of Conservation establishes
the minimum per-pound rate for each container type: aluminum, glass,
plastic and bi-metal. Recycling centers pay the CRV to consumers
for their redeemed beverage containers.
Can recycling centers pay less than the refund value for
Yes, if the material is contaminated. Operators of certified
recycling centers must inspect each load of containers to determine
whether it is eligible for the CRV. Recycling centers have the
option to refuse to accept containers that, in their opinion, are
excessively contaminated with dirt, moisture, or other foreign
substances. Alternatively, recycling centers may adjust the CRV
per pound downward to calculate the payment by the ratio of such
substances to empty beverage containers. In this circumstance, the
consumer has the right to accept the discounted refund and/or scrap
price, to separate refund from non-refund material, or to take the