Beverage Containers

Special Instructions

The beverage container recycling program was created in 1986 with the passage of Assembly Bill 2020. Consumers pay California Redemption Value (CRV) when they purchase beverages from a retailer, and receive CRV refunds when they redeem the containers. This is a statewide program administered by CalRecycle. More information about the program is available on the CalRecycle website.

Beginning in January 2016, many of the recycling centers throughout California have closed, resulting in long lines at the remaining recycling centers. For example, in San Luis Obispo County there should be at least 10 additional recycling centers. CalRecycle is aware of this problem and is working to resolve it.

Find a SLO County CRV recycling center near you.

What Can I do to help:

What is CRV?

Many beverage containers are eligible to be recycled for cash at a certified recycling center. CRV, or California Redemption Value, returns 5 cents for containers less than 24 oz. and 10 cents for containers larger than 24 oz. Most beverages containers other than milk, wine and distilled spirits are subject to CRV.

This money is 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.

How to Redeem Your Containers

Check the label to see if a container is eligible for CRV: it will say “CA Redemption Value,” “California Cash Refund,” “CA CRV” or “CA Cash Refund.” Aluminum cans are labeled on the top of the can, and plastic or glass containers are labeled on the side.

You can bring up to 50 aluminum, 50 glass, 50 plastic and 50 bi-metal CRV containers and request to be paid by count. Otherwise, you will be paid per weight. Inform the site attendant of your load content and how you would like to receive payment before you hand over your load. Recycling centers are required to comply with this request.


Recycling centers are not owned or operated by the State of California. Days and hours of operation are determined by the recycling center operators and must be posted at each center. Centers are required to be open at least 30 hours per week, five days a week, and one weekend day.

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 or file a complaint via email.


Check If Eligible for CRV

Check the label to see if a container is eligible for CRV (California Redemption Value): it will say CA Redemption Value, California Cash Refund, CA CRV or CA Cash Refund. Aluminum cans are labeled on the top of the can, and plastic or glass containers are labeled on the side.

Rinse Out Before Recycling

Empty and rinse out beverage containers before redeeming them for cash. Moisture and dirt contaminate the recycling. The attendant may reject a pile if it is excessively contaminated.

What's Eligible for CRV

The following beverage containers are eligible for CRV: beer and malt beverages, wine coolers and distilled spirit coolers, carbonated drinks (fruit, water or soft), non-carbonated drinks (fruit, water, soft), coffee and tea beverages, 100 percent fruit juice less than 46 ounces, vegetable juice 16 ounces or less and sports drinks.

What's Not Eligible for CRV

The following beverage containers are not eligible for CRV: milk, medical food, wine, spirits, 100 percent fruit juice more than 46 ounces, vegetable juice more than 16 ounces and food & non-beverage containers.