For all you folks in the food and beverage game, there's a California-sized update you should be aware of – it's called the California Bottle Bill. This shift is a big deal, particularly for wineries and spirits producers. Luckily, California has provided a substantial grace period for adaptation.
Senate Bill 1013, which will kick in on January 1, 2024, expanded the California Bottle Bill Act to include wine and spirits containers. And just to add more clarity, Senate Bill 353, signed into law in October 2023, further ironed out some specifics.
What is the California Bottle Bill?
So, what's the fuss about? SB 1013, the new bottle bill, aka the California Beverage Container Recycling and Litter Reduction Act, is bringing changes. It means updated labels for all wine bottles, bottle refunds, mandatory recycling, and paperwork – lots of it.
Starting January 1, 2024, the California Bottle Bill now covers containers with wine and distilled spirits. The Bottle Bill imposes redeemable recycling fees on various containers, and the revenue goes into funding the California Beverage Container Recycling Program (BCRP) and supporting recycling businesses.
The WHY behind the Bottle Bill
At the heart of this legislative push is a concerted effort to encourage recycling. California sets an ambitious target: achieving an 80% recycling rate for aluminum, bimetal, glass, and plastic containers sold within the state.
For wineries and distilleries, the rulebook changes starting January 1, 2024. Compliance becomes paramount, encompassing CA Redemption Value (CRV) payments, reporting obligations, and CRV labeling requirements for wine and spirits filled and labeled after January 1, 2024. A crucial date looms—July 1, 2025—when all wines and spirits sold in California must bear an approved CRV statement on their labels.
Producers, take note: You have until July 1, 2025, to incorporate the CRV message onto certain labels. Time is of the essence, and proactive measures are essential for a seamless transition.
Navigating the labeling landscape
Labeling requirements are a critical aspect of Bottle Bill compliance. Eligible containers holding qualifying beverages must display one of the following CRV messages on the label:
- California Redemption Value
- CA Redemption Value
- California Cash Refund
- CA CRV
- CA Cash Refund
Simplifying CA CRV compliance with Artwork Flow
Amidst the regulatory maze, navigating compliance can be a challenging and time-consuming endeavor, but it doesn't have to be. As a brand, you can avoid costly product recalls and maintain a positive brand image by automating compliance.
Artwork Flow's custom compliance feature offers a rule-based setup. If any of the required CRV messages are absent from your packaging label, our software detects it promptly, allowing you to rectify it in an instant. The custom compliance feature includes a field for preferred words, where you can define the essential terms that should be present in your packaging design.
This feature proves invaluable in managing multiple compliance risks by extracting and validating textual information from packaging designs. Any label mismatches are immediately highlighted according to the predefined rules, enabling swift corrections.
Importantly, beverage manufacturers have until July 1, 2025, to add the CRV message to labels for the following products:
- Distilled spirits
- Wine and distilled spirit coolers with greater than 7% ABV
- Wine (including wine from which alcohol has been completely or partially removed, whether sparkling or carbonated)
- Wine or distilled spirits in a box, bladder, pouch, or similar container
- 100% fruit juice (46 ounces and greater)
- 100% vegetable juice (greater than 16 ounces)
Exemptions exist for certain beverages from CRV labeling requirements, including:
- Distilled spirits, wine, and distilled spirit coolers with more than 7% ABV that are filled and labeled before January 1, 2024
- 100% fruit juice (46 ounces and greater) and 100% vegetable juice (greater than 16 ounces) that are filled and labeled before July 1, 2024
Exclusions from the Bottle Bill
The California Bottle Bill doesn't apply to containers for certain products, including food and non-beverage containers, infant formula, medical food, and milk. These exclusions ensure that containers for essential non-beverage items are not subject to the same regulations.
Navigating the compliance landscape
Staying Bottle Bill compliant is not just a regulatory requirement—it's a strategic imperative. The regulatory landscape is evolving, and the proactive adoption of compliance measures is crucial for sustaining business operations. Artwork Flow stands as a reliable partner, offering a streamlined approach to compliance through automation.
As the bottle bill undergoes changes, the importance of an efficient compliance strategy cannot be overstated. With Artwork Flow, not only can you ensure adherence to Bottle Bill regulations, but you can also mitigate the challenges of compliance through an intuitive and rule-based system.
The future of beverage container regulation in California is dynamic, and those who embrace compliance with foresight and technological support will navigate the regulatory seas with confidence.