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Less Manufacturing, Inclusion Of Wine And Liquor Bottles Proposed In New Recycling Bill

Barry Babb checks labels on glass bottles at Berkeley Recycling Center to make sure they're eligible for California redemption. Because wine and liquor bottles are currently exempt, he says they're not worth his time to haul in.


A proposal to overhaul California’s recycling system is set for a hearing in the state Legislature this week.

California Senator Bob Wieckowski's (Fremont - D) idea is to retool the state's decades-old recycling system. This comes after hundreds of recycling centers closed around the state last year.

The senator says part of the problem is companies find it cheaper to manufacture new bottles. His proposal would require them to use a percentage of recycled material.

“You gotta have some minimum content, so you’re not going to be able to just say, if the commodity price goes down, you can’t just say we’ll just buy raw virgin material," Wieckowski says. "You’ve gotta put it in your container.”

At a recycling center in Berkeley, Barry Babb sorts different colors of glass. He spends a lot of time checking labels to make sure the bottles he’s collected are good for redemption.

“Got to have CA on the bottles,” Babb says. “No wine bottles, we ain’t get no wine bottles. See like this here: CA. Now that’s money, that’s five cents.”

The bill would also end an exemption for wine and liquor bottles, which currently aren’t eligible for California redemption. Wieckowski’s office says the move would add hundreds of millions of bottles to the recycling system.

The bill is modeled in part after Oregon, which just raised its rate to a dime.


Daniel Potter


Daniel Potter started out as an intern at Nashville Public Radio, where he worked as a general assignment reporter for six years, covering everything from tornadoes to the statehouse.   Read Full Bio 

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