California Adds Wine and Spirits Packaging to State's Beverage Container Recycling

The California State Legislature recently added wine and distilled spirits packaging to the California Redemption Value (CRV) program, which charges a fee when consumers purchase a packaged product and then refunds it when the package is redeemed at a recycling center. If the container is recycled in a curbside bin, the local municipality receives the refund.

Starting January 1, 2024, the law (SB 1013) will apply to distributors of beverage containers made of (among similar materials or receptacles) glass, plastic, metal, bimetal, bag-in-box, paperboard, bladder, and pouch packaging (or any combination of these materials) sold or offered in California. For beverage containers (including wine and spirits packaging) holding less than 24 ounces, the CRV will be 5 cents ($0.05). Beverage containers holding at least 24 ounces or more will carry a CRV of 10 cents ($0.10). For wine or spirits packaged in a box, bladder, pouch, or similar container, the redemption value will be 25 cents ($0.25).

Companies that sell or distribute packaged wine or distilled spirits in California are required to register with the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery as a beverage manufacturer and/or distributor. To learn more about the registration process, visit CalRecycle.

According to the Container Recycling Institute, approximately 1.3 billion wine and liquor containers were sold in California in 2019. Less than 30% of those containers were recycled. The new deposit/refund law is expected to significantly increase recycling rates by up to 75%.

Evolving Labeling Requirements

Under the new law, wine and spirits packaging must bear a message stating “California Redemption Value,” “CA Redemption Value,” “CA Cash Refund,” “California Cash Refund,” or “CA CRV.” The message can be printed, embossed, or securely affixed to the beverage container using a clear and prominent stamp, label, or other device.

Given that relabeling finished wine bottles with the CRV messaging could disrupt the aging process, the labeling requirements for both wine and spirits packaging have been extended to July 1, 2025.

A CRV message is optional on wine or distilled spirit products offered for retail sale from January 1, 2024, through June 30, 2025. It will become mandatory on July 1, 2025. For frequently asked questions on labeling guidance, visit CalRecycle.

Your Strategic Packaging Partner

At Berlin Packaging, we partner with brands to help them transition to more responsible packaging. We target packaging solutions that optimize sustainability, brand impact, and performance. As part of our support to customers in achieving their sustainable packaging goals, we provide an expansive suite of leading sustainability services ranging from market insights and quantitative environmental assessments to circularity road mapping and sustainability communications strategies.

We supply a wide range of stock and custom wine packaging and spirits packaging options. Our 430,000-sq-ft distribution center in Napa Valley offers world-class fulfillment and repack capabilities. Additionally, our 25,000-sq-ft repack facility features a semi-automated line that can manage the entire print pack process and accommodate custom pallet requirements, such as bulk-to-case, case-to-case, restacking, and more.

The information contained in this article is intended for general information purposes only and is based on information available as of the initial date of publication. No representation is made that the information or references are complete or remain current. This article is not a substitute for a review of current applicable government regulations, industry standards, or other standards specific to your business and/or activities and should not be construed as legal advice or opinion. Readers with specific questions should refer to the applicable standards or consult with an attorney. It is the customer's responsibility to determine whether its filled product is subject to any applicable government regulations and to ensure compliance with such regulations.

Robert Swientek

By: Robert Swientek
Date: June 20, 2023

If you're looking for sustainable packaging solutions for your business, please request a packaging consultation today.