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California Hoping to Clean Up Bottle Bill Problems

LOS ANGELES -- California lawmakers will begin hearings on a new bottle recycling bill next week. The state passed its current beverage container recycling law in 1986, and the goal was to recycle 65 percent of the bottled beverages consumed in the state. But the success of the program -- hitting a 80 percent recycling rate -- depleted the state's recycling fund, which can't keep up with the increased redemption rate.

With the state's general fund also running in the red, lawmakers needed to do something to save the recycling program.

The result is the introduction of the Beverage Container Recycling and Litter Reduction Act, a new bill that nearly everyone supports, including the California Independent Grocers Association (CIGA).

"This bill will make it easier and more convenient for consumers to recycle their beverage containers," said John Handley, CIGA's Government Relations director. "It also replenishes the recycling fund more quickly by setting up a two-month payment schedule, compared to three months at the present time. And it helps grocers run their businesses more efficiently, because it suspends the rule that a grocer has to take in recycled containers if there is no recycling zone within the required radius."

The bill comes up for its first hearing on April 12 before the Natural Resources Committee, followed by other hearings prior to a vote.
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