When material is received from customers, the recycling center attendant MUST determine if it is eligible for refund value, and if so, a determination must be made regarding the California Refund Value (CRV) content of the load.

1. The container is made of aluminum, glass, plastic or bimetal (Plastic container types are distinguished by code numbers 1 though 7 indicated inside the “swirling arrows” triangle on the bottom of each plastic container. Unidentified resins (no “swirling arrows” triangle on container) should be receipted as code 7, OTHER).

2. The container has been opened (the seal or closure installed by the manufacturer has been broken or removed.)

3. Contamination has been removed (does not contain foreign materials such as rocks, sand, cigarettes, etc., other than the residue of the beverage originally packaged in the beverage container by the manufacturer). Refund value is not payable for excess moisture and/or residue. If the material is dirty or otherwise contaminated, be sure to either reduce the amount of refund value paid or tell the consumer to take the material back. (see page III.5 for shrinkage example). NOTE: If the load is contaminated, the recycler or seller should attempt to remove any visible debris. For remaining contamination that cannot be removed, such as dirt or moisture, the recycler should estimate the percent of contamination or shrinkage in the load and, if the seller agrees to a reduced price, reduce the payment rate by this percentage. The customer must be made aware of the deduction to ensure their right to take back the containers.

4. The CRV message is on the beverage container (California Redemption Value, CA Redemption Value, California Cash Refund, CA Cash Refund, CA CRV -(This message must be printed or embossed on the container, or a clear stamp or label must be affixed to the container. Aluminum cans and bi-metal containers typically have the message on the lid of the container. Glass bottles and plastic bottles usually have the message on the product label.)

Please refer to the Department of Conservation's website: for examples of beverage containers that are “in” and “out”, select the link to Beverage Container Recycling and click on CRV Product Listing. You may also call 1-800-RECYCLE (1-800-732-9253) for additional information.

1. There are pieces of broken densified bales, or biscuits of aluminum or plastic.
2. Rejected containers (see V.3 for a definition of rejected containers).
3. Out-of-state material, whether labeled with the CRV message or not.
4. Line breakage (see V.1 for a definition of line breakage).

The material presented for recycling MUST be removed from the bag, box, shopping cart, or other receptacle that was used to transport the material to the recycling center. The purpose of this is to assist the attendant in performing adequate inspection procedures. Adequate inspection procedures include looking at the container and determining whether the containers are eligible for refund value by checking for these four elements: container has a refund value established, container has been opened, contaminants have been removed, container has CRV messageINER HAS CRV MESSAGE.

1. Is the material 100% CRV?
If so, the basis for payment is either SEGREGATED AND WEIGHED (SW) or SEGREGATED AND COUNTED (SC). If the customer has 50 containers or less, of each material type, they can request that you count the containers rather than weigh them and you must comply.

2. Is there a mix of CRV and non-CRV containers of the same material type (with no previously baled, out-of-state, rejected, or line breakage containers in the load)?
If so, the basis for payment is COMMINGLED. If these containers of the same material type are separated, one portion of the load may be purchased as segregated, and the remainder purchased as scrap (You may not indicate segregated and commingled for the same transaction.) A separate weight for each basis must be obtained. (For example, CRV PETE and non-CRV PETE could be shown as two line items on the receipt or log. The basis for payment for the CRV bottles would be segregated; the basis for the non-CRV bottles would be scrap.)
Regardless of whether the commingled load is below or above the statewide average, the commingled CRV rate to be paid is the rate published on the rate sheets provided by the Division. For example, if the commingled rate for glass is 84%, and the load presented contains approximately 50% CRV containers, you should pay the statewide commingled rate of 84%. An exception to this is when the load of material is completely non-CRV containers or has been artificially arranged to include a small amount of CRV material to make a non-CRV load eligible for CRV at the commingled rate. In this case, the CRV container(s) should be separated and paid at the segregated rate. The balance of the load could be accepted as non-CRV for which a scrap price may be paid.

An alternative would be accept the entire load as non-CRV or ask the customer to take the material back. Please note that different colors of glass may be treated separately for sorting, storage, sales, and recordkeeping purposes only (on the receipt, log, summary, shipping report). However, when determining the basis for payment, glass is glass. If green glass and flint are delivered, you may not pay a segregated rate for the green and a commingled rate for the flint. The commingled rate would be paid on the total weight of the glass accepted. You may also separate the glass (regardless of color) into CRV glass and non-CRV glass and record it as two line items on the receipt or log. The basis for payment for the CRV bottles would be segregated; the basis for the non-CRV bottles would be scrap. NOTE: If broken glass is received, AND it can be determined that some parts of the bottles are CRV labeled, AND you are certain the material is not out-of- state, rejected, or line breakage, the basis for payment should be indicated as COMMINGLED. If the glass bottles are broken and the material is from out-of-state, rejected, or line breakage, or if it cannot be determined that the containers were labeled with the California refund message, the basis for payment would be SCRAP, not commingled. Please note that each plastic resin type is a separate material type and must be handled and receipted accordingly. For example, a mix of PETE and HDPE is not commingled, but rather two separate materials. Each material type must be separately identified on the receipt, log, daily summary and shipping report.

3. Are the containers presented for recycling non-CRV containers?
If so, the basis for payment is SCRAP (SP) OR NON-CRV. If the containers do not qualify for CRV as indicated above, AND the containers are from out-of-state, rejected, or line-breakage, this additional indication must be included on the receipt. Only scrap containers that do not fall in the categories mentioned (i.e. out-of-state, rejected, or line-breakage) may be recorded on a log sheet. Materials from airlines, passenger trains, or cruise ships are to be handled as non- CRV, California post-consumer scrap, regardless of the container markings (i.e., CRV label). These containers may be delivered by the carrier company, their personnel, or by collection programs.
NOTE: The basis for payment is required on all receipts and logs for beverage containers, regardless of whether or not refund value is paid (donations and scrap material).

OUT-OF-STATE VEHICLES In order to accommodate tourists and out-of-state residents who shop and purchase their beverages in California, recyclers may pay refund value to customers delivering a load of material in a vehicle with an out-of-state license plate, provided that person is not a noncertified recycler, and the total refund value payable is $50.00 or less. If these conditions are not satisfied, NO REFUND VALUE IS PAYABLE. You must consider the refund value paid for ALL materials purchased from the same customer. Add up the refund value for ALL material types (aluminum, glass, plastic by resin type, and bimetal) to ensure that the refund value is $50.00 or less. It is the recycler's responsibility to inspect the containers thoroughly.

LOADS OF ALUMINUM IN EXCESS OF 250 POUNDS All aluminum beverage container transactions (scrap and CRV) that weigh more than 250 pounds must be reported to the Division on a weekly basis.

A certified recycler cannot pay refund value to or claim refund value from any person, operation, or entity who is not certified by this Division (non-certified recycler) that brings in more than 2,500 pounds of glass, 500 pounds of aluminum, or 500 pounds of plastic in one day. Note: A certified recycler may accept up to 500 pounds of each plastic resin type (#1-#7) as they are considered separate material types for purchase and recordkeeping purposes. If a load exceeding the daily allowable weights is offered for sale, recyclers may not pay more than scrap value for the ENTIRE load. For example: If 540 pounds of aluminum is presented for recycling, it is not permissible to accept 499 pounds of aluminum and pay refund value and accept the remaining 41 pounds for scrap. The entire load must be either rejected or paid at scrap rates only.
Recyclers should also implement procedures to track multiple deliveries by the same person in one day. Assurances should be made that customers are not attempting to circumvent the regulations by delivering material throughout the day, delivering material in different vehicles, or sending other persons in the same vehicle to the scale with “split loads,” or two or three people in one vehicle and saying each person is individually selling their own material. A noncertified recycler should not be confused with a consumer. The definition of a noncertified recycler is a person, entity, or operation which is not certified by the department and which purchases empty beverage containers from consumers, or from dropoff or collection programs.The key difference between a noncertified recycler and a consumer is that a noncertified recycler purchases the empty containers, and does not purchase the product for consumption. Multiple transactions by the same person should raise a “red flag” to the recycler. Where is all this material coming from? Is the customer bringing more than one load per day because they are aware of the limits and are trying to circumvent the regulations? You should question the customer regarding the source of the material. If the customer purchased the material elsewhere, that customer would be considered a noncertified recycler. No refund value may be paid to a noncertified recycler for empty beverage containers regardless of the weight of the material received. If it is discovered that a recycler paid refund value to a noncertified recycler, the refund value received may be disallowed and civil penalties may be assessed.

Operators of recycling centers may go off-site and pay refund value for empty beverage containers at churches, schools, businesses, and other community service organizations where beverages are consumed. However, a written agreement between the parties must be in place prior to the pick-up. A copy of the written agreement must be retained with other business records and contain at a minimum the

  • The name, address, and certification number of the recycling center, as well as the name and phone number of a contact person at the recycling center;
  • The name and address of the organization to be served by the recycling center, as well and the name and phone number of a contact person at the organization;
  • Language, typed or legibly handwritten in English, which states the agreement between the recycling center and the organization and includes the material type of beverage containers to be picked up and the method of determining the weight of beverage containers picked up.

A receipt must be prepared and issued, regardless of the amount of the transaction. The receipt must be press pre-numbered and include the following information:

  • Total weight or count of materials received,
  • Total payment made or amount paid for each material,
  • Basis for payment (SW, SC, C, OR SP),
  • Certification number of recycling center,
  • Date of sale or donation,
  • Printed name and signature of customer (contact person of organization),
  • The name, address and phone number of the organization.

Additionally, loads must not exceed the volume limits (500 pounds of aluminum or plastic, or 2,500 pounds of glass per day). Under no circumstances may operators of recycling centers go off-site to pick up materials and pay refund value to individuals.

Rejected containers are those containers that are either broken on the line, broken while the container is being made, or broken while the bottle/can is being filled on a production line (line breakage); defective and discarded by the container manufacturer; out-of-code or outdated beverages which must be emptied; damaged in a warehouse awaiting sale to a retailer; and/or damaged prior to sale and returned to the distributor for credit. No refund value is payable by a recycler for these types of containers. When rejected containers are purchased or accepted for recycling, a receipt must be issued to the seller, indicating the weight of the material received, the date received, and any payment made (scrap). A notation that the containers were rejected containers should be documented on the receipt. A copy of the receipt must be provided to the seller and retained by the recycler. The weight of the rejected material must NOT be included in the received weight shown on the shipping report.

If you are certified to operate a recycling center and a processing facility at the same location, you may not receive material from other certified entities (other recyclers, dropoff and collection programs, community service organizations, and curbside programs) as a recycler. Material received from other than consumers MUST be receipted as a processor, showing the “PR” certification number on all supporting documentation (including receipts and shipping reports).

Recycler Operating and Recordkeeping Manual 05/01/06 II Inspection and Purchase Procedures