New Recycling Laws in California and New Jersey Begin in 2024

New recycling laws in California and New Jersey will take effect in 2024. As we approach the new year, we asked Michael Walker, ACSA’s state policy advisor, to outline how these laws will affect craft spirits producers who make spirits or sell spirits into these states.

California: Spirits included in Bottle Deposit Program Starting Jan. 1, 2024

Laws passed in 2022 and 2023 make significant changes to the state’s bottle deposit program that impacts all distillers in-state and out-of-state that sell distilled spirits products into California. Specific distiller obligations vary depending on operations and business models. Below is a general overview of distillery requirements:

All distilleries selling spirits in California are required to register with the state and pay process fees.

  • All distilleries will have to pay a process fee per container sold into the state. The processing fee amount is determined by the type of container sold. The processing fee for glass bottles in 2024 is $0.00576 per container sold. Information on different process fees can be found at this link:
  • Processing fee payments are due on the 10th of the second month after sales (first payment will be due March 10, 2024).

Distilleries selling directly to consumers in California are required to handle CRV deposits.

  • Distilleries selling directly to consumers either through tasting rooms or shipping directly to consumers may be considered manufacturers and distributors under the bottle deposit program.
  • Distilleries will be responsible for collecting CRV from consumers and submitting to the state on a regular basis. CRV depends on size of container. CRV levels are $0.05 for containers less than 24oz., $0.10 for containers larger than 24oz. and $0.25 for all alternative packaging sizes (ie boxes, tetra packs etc)
  • Distilleries pay the state CRV collected on sales minus 1.5% administrative fee on the last day of the month following month of sales (First payment due Feb. 29, 2024). Note: bottles used for tasting room samples are exempt from CRV payments.

Distilleries will be required to have CRV indicia on label staring in July 2025.

  • All products will need to have CRV indicia starting in July 2025. Here is a link to labeling requirements:
  • There is no pre-approval required and no penalty for labeling prior to July 2025. CalRecycle told us that they are willing to work with distillers to ensure CRV labels meet the state’s regulatory requirements.
  • all containers filled and labeled prior to 2024 will not be required to have a CRV message. Distillers will not need to obtain a new COLA from TTB.

New Jersey: Certain distilled spirits products may be subject to new recycled content law starting 2024

A recent law passed in New Jersey requires product manufacturers to meet minimum recycled content standards for certain packaging including glass, rigid plastic, and plastic bags among others. There is considerable ambiguity under the new law including the definition of what products are covered and there are currently no regulations that have been adopted.

This document provides a general overview as we currently understand and here is a link to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) website with further details on the program:

ACSA has been participating in a coalition including Wine Institute, Distilled Spirits Council, New Jersey Wineries, New Jersey Distillers Guild as well as beer, wine and spirits wholesalers to navigate this new policy. This coalition will continue working on the issues in 2024.

Distillers who sell ‘spirits coolers’ in New Jersey may be subject to the law.

  • Wine and distilled spirits coolers are covered under the law without defining it. NJDEP released an updated FAQ on Dec. 8, indicating that wine and spirits coolers means a beverage containing wine or distilled spirits to which added concentrated or unconcentrated juice or flavoring materials, with no limit of alcohol by volume (ABV).
  • The FAQ further describes that bottle of still, sparkling or fortified liquors are not considered beverages under the law and not subject to the recycled content mandates of the law. Here is a link to the FAQ:

Distillers who sell distilled spirits coolers may be required to register with NJDEP.

  • Distillers who sell distilled spirits coolers may need to register with the NJDEP by Dec. 31.
  • There is a $2,000 registration fee (for 2022 and 2023).
  • Distillers can also apply for an exemption to registration fee if they can show global revenue is less than $5 million dollars.
  • According to the FAQ, distillers who register after Dec. 31, 2023, will not be penalized unless they receive a notice from NJDEP and do not register within 90 days of receiving a notice, so there seems to be no penalty for not registering now.

Distillers need to certify glass bottles used for spirits coolers are made with 35% recycled content.

  • There are exemptions provided for in the law.
  • The coalition is working to amend this portion of the law so that glass manufacturers not brand owners need to certify that glass is made with 35% recycled content.

Next Steps

We recognize there are many questions about this new law and have been working with the coalition and other consumer product organizations to get answers from the NJDEP and the NJ Governor’s office as well as communicating with the sponsor of the law that changes need to be made.  

  • Regulations are due Jan. 18, 2024, which seems unlikely at this point.
  • It is unclear whether the legislature will make any changes to this law before the end of session which is scheduled for Dec. 31.
  • The new session with new legislators is scheduled to convene in early January.

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