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Calif. to review UBC program changes

Keywords: Tags  scrap, CalRecycle, UBCs, aluminum, recycling, used beverage containers, Caroll Mortensen, Mark Oldfield Daniel Fitzgerald

NEW YORK — The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) will review proposed changes to its used beverage container (UBC) recycling program in early 2013 aimed at preserving the program’s long-term solvency.

The agency held seven workshops with program stakeholders over the past few months, and several ideas are being formalized for presentation to CalRecycle director Caroll Mortensen, agency spokesman Mark Oldfield said.

Among the changes, the agency will consider altering processing and handling fees to protect the long-term viability of the fund, with expenditures currently exceeding revenue by 12 percent (, May 17).

The addition of containers for beverages not currently covered by the program—particularly wine, distilled spirits and milk—is another idea under consideration, Oldfield said, also confirming that proposed UBC load limits were "still on the table." The agency said in July that it was considering reducing the daily load limit for peddlers redeeming aluminum cans to as low as 50 pounds from 500 pounds currently (, July 10).

CalRecycle recently signed a $1.4-million inter-agency agreement with the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) that will see CDFA border inspection agents add recyclable beverage containers to their "no entry" list.

The two agencies conducted a pilot project between June and August at all 16 of CDFA’s border inspection stations, identifying 3,588 vehicles carrying out-of-state beverage containers.

There "was plenty of evidence to move forward with the interagency agreement, which is already inked and operative," according to the CDFA, noting that "528 of the vehicles were rental trucks full of out-of-state beverage containers."

The state Department of Justice has estimated that the cost of the import fraud to the California government at as much as $40 million annually.

Meanwhile, CalRecycle also published Wednesday the 2013 refund values for recycling centers, with aluminum containers receiving a refund of $1.59 per segregated pound at a rate of 29.7 containers per segregated pound. The refund value for commingled containers will be $1.42 per pound.

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