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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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Legislature moving ahead to add recycling fee to wine and spirits

Uploaded: Jul 28, 2022
The Legislature returns to Sacramento next week for the final month of the session.
Among the bills on the agenda is SB 1013 carried by Senate leader Toni Atkins of San Diego. It would require a 10-cent deposit on wine and spirits bottles that to date have been exempt from the recycling fee. The fee applies to bottled water, soft drinks, beer and other refreshments. The wine and spirits industries have had enough clout in Sacramento, but the winds have shifted and key industry groups are now supporting the charge.
That change in opinion is coupled with the fact that it is estimated that most of the 13 million bottles of wine and spirits that consumers buy annually end up in the landfill.
Should the measure become law, it will continue the pain in the you know what for residents of Pleasanton and Dublin. Pleasanton Garbage operated a recycling buyback center at its transfer station in Pleasanton for decades before closing it when the pandemic shutdown hit. Company owners decided not to re-open it.
That means for Pleasanton residents, they have a choice of showing up at a retailer selling beverages and demanding they recycle their cans/bottles (good luck although they’re supposed to do that or pay a fee) or traipsing to one of two establishments in Livermore that are in the recycling business. I’ve opted for that choice and the center on Old First Street functions efficiently during the week—it’s just way less convenient than dropping them at the transfer station before or after church on a Sunday.
There was a time when I’d save wine boxes and take those to the transfer station as well, but we gave that up when the blue trash bins came to our driveway and we could toss them there knowing a worker would sort through them.
So, stay tuned for a well-intentioned bill to become a pain in the rear for those who don’t like giving money away to the inefficient state recycling organization.

You might recall Tuesday that I wrote about how joined at the proverbial hip the California Democrat party is with various labor unions. Long-time Sacramento columnist Dan Walter wrote in his July 25 column for CalMatters just how tight those ties are. As Walters has pointed out on numerous occasions, the Legislature and various governors have become adept in a ugly way of slipping major policy changes into the budget trailer bills that supposedly implement provisions of the spending plan. Doing so bypasses the normal checks-and-balances and avoids daylight of the media.
The latest shenanigan favors unions by declaring the intention to allow union members who do not itemize deductions to eliminate the cost of their union dues by providing a refundable tax credit. Tax credit means a dollar-for-dollar reduction in tax owed. That’s shameful, but keeping in what Democrats have been trying to do for unions whose membership has been shrinking other than in the public sector. The legislators have been trying to offset a 2018 Supreme Court decision that banned state laws that forced non-members to pay union dues.
As Walters noted, a portion of those dues—a large portion—ends up in the campaign war chests of Democrats.

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Posted by Pton Resident, a resident of Foothill High School,
on Jul 28, 2022 at 9:12 am

Pton Resident is a registered user.

This is just another way CA slaps hidden taxes on its residents. As you've noted, it'a a pain in the rump to get our deposits back on cans and bottles. These used to be called deposits. Now it's called recycling fees. Don't be fooled -- it's a tax.

Posted by Dirk Svensen, a resident of Country Fair,
on Jul 28, 2022 at 10:02 am

Dirk Svensen is a registered user.

Off-topic/unrelated comment: is it my browser, or have the "vote" buttons been removed from the comments? That was really helpful to see how the readers felt about a comment; was this removed? I upvote the "Pton Resident" comment.....

Posted by Dirk Svensen, a resident of Country Fair,
on Jul 28, 2022 at 10:02 am

Dirk Svensen is a registered user.

Off-topic/unrelated comment: is it my browser, or have the "vote" buttons been removed from the comments? That was really helpful to see how the readers felt about a comment; was this removed? I upvote the "Pton Resident" comment.....

Posted by DublinMike, a resident of Dublin,
on Jul 29, 2022 at 9:35 am

DublinMike is a registered user.

Recycle fees on wine bottles, et al, is one step in the right direction. As in any new endeavor, there are bumps. Some easily fixed, others not. That's life.

Anything new will have detractors. For those not familiar with the history of windshield wipers, there was loud detractors with complaints, such as, they will increase the cost of vehicles. Now... who wants to drive in the rain without them? And, don't forget the mandatory automobile seat belts.

Posted by Benito Amaro, a resident of another community,
on Jul 31, 2022 at 8:50 am

Benito Amaro is a registered user.

Why not simply distribute wine in those boxes with the plastic bags and spigots?

Then they can be easily separated into different dumpster bins when finished

Posted by Meredith Laskey, a resident of Walnut Creek,
on Aug 1, 2022 at 1:30 pm

Meredith Laskey is a registered user.

Another option would be for wine consumers to bring their own containers/bottles and have them filled directly from the wooden barrels.

Posted by Ndna Jnz, a resident of Mohr Park,
on Aug 1, 2022 at 1:41 pm

Ndna Jnz is a registered user.

A bit confused here. The bill, SB 1013, passed the legislature and was signed by the governor in Sep, 2018. I could only find text for that bill that describes the at least partial continued use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) as aerosol propellants. The description of SB 1013 as mentioned here by Mr. Hunt appears as "amended." So, shouldn't the amended bill be notated as "SB 1013-A" or the like? It seems confusing for the amendment of a bill already signed into law to be titled the same as the original bill.

Also, the (amended) bill references nearly all "read to drink" beverages (although, I don't see how a large bottle of wine can be called "ready to drink.) But, the bill doesn't mention the increase in "recycling fee" for the existing fee of 5 cents for non-alcoholic ready to drink beverages. So, I guess it's obvious those fees (e.g., for water and sodas) are incrasing from 5 to 10 cents. I agree that now seems to be on the fence and closely reminiscent of a tax rather than redeemable fee. But, I admit I fell somewhat guilty throwing wine bottles, beer bottles, large juice bottles, etc., into the blue-topped bin rather than taking them to a recycle center. When those bottles are dumped into the recycle truck on "Trash Day," you can hear them crashing and breaking. Are those broken pieces of glass still actually send to a recycle center, or are they eventually pushed into the landfill somewhere?

Lastly, I was appalled with the City when they quickly renewed the PGS contract, even though they said they would be discontinuing the recycling center, because they've "had the contract for so long, it's easier to just renew them" (paraphrased.)

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