New Heights

The California recycling rate for beverage containers increased to 76 percent for the six-month period of January to June 2008, up from 71 percent for the same period in 2007.

"This is an extraordinary accomplishment in a very short time," said Bridgett Luther, director of the California Department of Conservation, in a press release. "Californians have really stepped up their recycling efforts and data shows we are on pace to set an all-time high for beverage container recycling volume in 2008. This means an all-time high in energy savings, natural resource conservation and greenhouse gas reductions."

Recycling rates for all types of beverage containers increased. Aluminum increased to 85 percent from 81 percent; glass rose to 79 percent from 71 percent; and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) increased to 63 percent from 58 percent.

The state's recycling rate has jumped 16 percentage points since Gov. Schwarzenegger enacted legislation in January 2007 to increase payouts for used containers.