Reform for a Sustainable Future – California’s Beverage Container Program

2nd October 2019

by Dr Dominic Hogg, Sarah Edwards, Orla Woods

This report provides an independent, objective review of the contributing factors to the decreasing return rate of California’s beverage container program.

California’s deposit return program is the largest in North America, and the second largest internationally. Well-designed programs currently achieve in excess of an 80% return rate for beverage containers: however, California’s current system is only at achieving a 66% return rate.

The report identifies the issues causing this decline, and assesses whether they could be addressed through amendments to the current legislation, or if there is need for full-scale program reform.

Key contributing factors to the declining return rate of California’s beverage container program were identified as:

  • Failure to provide sufficient redemption locations;
  • Disproportionately subsidising curbside and drop-off programs; and,
  • Failing to provide convenient zones for consumers.

This report was initially completed at the end of 2018. Since then, there has been a further decline in redemption locations. The foreword to this report by author Sarah Edwards addresses the changes made between this time and the time of publication.

This report is available free of charge. Press the orange button and supply a few details about yourself in order to access the download.