San Luis Obispo County IWMA

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San Luis Obispo County IWMA - Recycle!

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Recycle for money!

Cashing In

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 them.

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?

San Luis Obispo County has several recycling centers where you can redeem your CRV. To locate a center call 1-800-RECYCLE. Or check the online recycle location finder at or

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 redeemed containers?

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 material back.


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San Luis Obispo County IWMA

San Luis Obispo County
Integrated Waste Management Authority

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