The California Redemption Value (CRV) is a fee added to bottles and cans by the legislature. The tax is intended to be a deposit, refunded by recycling glass and aluminum at recycling centers. CRV is intended to increase participation in recycling.

The Department of Conservation (a branch of the EPA that is in charge of the CRV program) defines CRV as "the amount paid by consumers at the checkout stand and paid back to consumers when they recycle eligible aluminum, plastic, glass and bi-metal beverage containers at one of California's more than 2,100 certified recycling centers." It's not exactly a tax.

Prior to 2004

  • 2.5 cents
  • 4 cents

From 2004 to 2006

  • 4 cents for containers smaller than 24 oz.
  • 8 cents for containers 24 oz and larger.

On January 1, 2007 it became:

  • 5 cents for containers smaller than 24 oz.
  • 10 cents for containers 24 oz and larger.

Note: CRV is established by law and is subject to change with new legislation.

From January to July 2007, The Department of Conservation offered a special recycling incentive—you payed only 4 or 8 cents per CRV container at the store, but you got back 5 or 10 cents! After July, you pay the full 5 and 10 cents per container at the store.

When bringing 50 or fewer containers to a recycling center, the customer is eligible to be paid the refund by container count. Over 50 containers, the recycling center may buy material by the pound. The legislature sets a minimum price at which recycling centers buy by the pound and is approximated to give the consumer their full refund back. Note, however, that recycling centers often pay more than the minimum price.

You can get money back for your recyclables at one of two Nexcycle locations, Save Mart on 1900 Anderson or Safeway on 2121 Cowell Blvd., at TOMRA Pacific Inc (aka rePLANET) and Davis Waste Removal are other locations in Davis available for redemption.

Removing recycling from Davis Waste Removal carts is illegal.

It is a violation of City Municipal Code Chapter 32.01.030 Prohibited acts to remove recyclables from recycling carts and recycling bins unless you are Davis Waste Removal. Removing recyclables from recycling carts is stealing from Davis Waste Removal, and removing them from the trash is technically stealing from the owner of the trash bin. Some believe that scavengers are not only stealing from Davis Waste Removal, they’re stealing from the residents and business owners of Davis because they believe that when scavengers "steal" the recyclable materials, they remove the revenue and funding for recycling programs made by the selling of the recycled material. But the CRV is supposed to basically be a deposit that is eventually returned when the bottle or can is returned, so someone else bringing it to the recycling center is not taking revenue for city services, just the deposit that the original consumer paid and most are probably willing to part with the five cents if they do not have to transport large quantities of bottles and cans to the nearest center. Seems like the people in charge of recycling in Davis are just very possessive of their trash. There is also a whole other section, 32.02.0, in Chapter 32 with 7 (codes? subsections?) covering redemption value.

If you see someone removing recyclables from a cart or bin you can (because it technically is a crime):

  • Get the license plate number of the vehicle and a detailed description of the individual, take a picture, if you can and it is safe to do so (send the picture to, and call the non-emergency police number (747-5400) to report the crime.

To prevent the "theft" of recyclable materials, you can:

  • Bring your recycling carts out to the curb the morning of your scheduled pick-up instead of the night before.
  • Remove all CRV containers from your recycling bin. Bring them to a recycling center to redeem the CRV or drop them off at Davis Waste Removal for recycling 24 hours a day (2727 2nd Street). You know, spend the extra time, energy, and effort (probably pollute too) to transport your recyclable materials yourself when you are paying the city to do it for you when there are people willing to do it for free.
  • Stop buying CRV containers altogether. It's mostly water bottles, soda, and other stuff you don't really need anyway. You can make your own beer or use refillable bottles.

For a list of beverage containers that have a CRV value, downloadable recycling posters, free recycling kits for businesses, and really cool recycling facts, check out

The California Division of Recycling