If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it: protect Oregon’s Bottle Bill

In Plastic Pollution, Recycling by OLCVstaff

Here in Oregon, we know a thing or two about recycling. For almost 50 years, the Bottle Bill has encouraged people to recycle glass, metal, and plastic bottles, while raising money for better recycling initiatives. Other states have long looked up to Oregon, and have worked hard to replicate our successful Bottle Bill program across the country. 

One of the great things about Oregon’s Bottle Bill is that the beverage industry bears the cost of the system, not taxpayers. Corporations should pay the cost of what they put in our environment, and Oregon does that better than any other state.

But, despite all its success, Oregon’s Bottle Bill is in danger: a last minute recommendation from the outgoing Secretary of State’s office could change the way Oregon uses unredeemed deposits, and divert money away from recycling organizations. Will you send an email to Governor Brown and your state lawmakers and ask them not to support this proposed change to the Bottle Bill?

You may be wondering—what is an unredeemed deposit? When you go to the grocery store and buy, say, a bottle of kombucha, you’re charged an extra 10 cents for the glass bottle. After you enjoy your ‘booch, you can take the empty bottle to a return center—many of which are outside grocery stores—and get your 10 cents back.

But what if you forget, or decide not to go to a redemption center, and you put the bottle out front with your usual recycling? Then it becomes an unredeemed deposit, and your 10 cents gets used to help fund recycling facilities, redemption centers, processing equipment, and more. Without this money, our bottle deposit and return program doesn’t work—for the environment, or for the people that need their refunds.

Using unredeemed deposits to fund other state programs could cause lower recycling rates, less recycled material, and less access for Oregonians to get their deposit back. That just doesn’t make sense. Other states have tried to use unredeemed deposits for general government use, and all have had poor results. There’s simply no reason to mess with this part of the program. Our current program is still a model for the nation, why would we want to change that? Please send an email and stand up for the Bottle Bill today!