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    Calif. Passes Short-Term Beverage-Recycling Fix

    The California Legislature moved one step closer last week to providing a short-term solution to the State’s Beverage Container Recycling Program, according to the California Grocers Association.

    The California Legislature moved one step closer last week to providing a short-term solution to the State’s Beverage Container Recycling Program, according to the California Grocers Association.

    The State Assembly and Senate have passed the bill known as AB 8x 7. The legislation now moves to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s desk and will take effect immediately upon signature.

    Provisions of the bill include:

    —A temporary acceleration of distributor payments into the fund
    —Temporary reductions in non-core expenditures.
    —A requirement that program participants be given at least 90-days’ notice of future proportionate reductions
    —Language intended to prohibit future borrowing from the Beverage Container Recycling Fund (BCRF)
    —Retroactive restoration of proportionate reductions between Jan. 1, 2010, and June 30, 2010

    “CGA met with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to stress the importance of approving this bill,” said CGA president Ronald Fong. “This measure is important not only because it restores the program to solvency through June, but it [also] sets important precedents for issues the grocery industry will seek on a permanent basis.”

    If the bill signed by the governor, the state Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) estimates that recyclers could see relief within 30 days. Fong said he is optimistic the Gov. Schwarzenegger will sign the legislation.

    “This is only the beginning, though,” added Fong. “CGA is seeking through legislation a long-term legislative fix that will restore and improve this landmark program.”

    Major issues to be addressed in the long term include prioritization of fund expenditures, addressing citing issues that often prevent willing grocers from facilitating recycling operations, and updating an antiquated convenience zone system that hampers competition and convenience.

    On behalf of Sacramento-based CGA, Fong thanked the organization’s members “for their strong support and involvement in educating lawmakers to the importance of passing this short-term solution.”

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