Oregon

Name The Beverage Container Act
Purpose To reduce litter and increase recycling
Date Enacted 7/2/1971
Date Implemented 10/1/1972
Beverages Covered Beer, malt, carbonated soft drinks, & bottled water (will cover all beverages except wine, liquor, milk, and milk substitutes by 2018[a])
Containers Covered Any individual, separate, sealed glass, metal or plastic bottle, can, jar containing a covered beverage in a quantity less than 3 fluid liters
Amount of Deposit 5¢ (Increasing to 10¢ on April 1, 2017)
Reclamation System Retail stores or approved redemption centers
Unredeemed Deposits Retained by distributor/ bottlers
Handling Fee none
Redemption Rate 2015 Redemption rate:

Metal: 70.89%
Glass: 67.60%
PET: 51.90%
Overall: 64.45%[b]

Details

Oregon’s Bottle Bill was introduced in 1971 as the very first bottle bill in the U.S.  The bill was created to address a growing litter problem along Oregon beaches, highways and other public areas.  Over the years, the Bottle Bill has prompted several other green initiatives. 

The law remained relatively unchanged until [c] bottled water was added to the system (effective in 2009). The law was expanded again allow for an increase of the deposit/refund value to 10¢ beginning April 1, 2017 as a result of the redemption rate staying below 80% for two consecutive years. Because the redemption was 68.26% in 2014 and 64.45% in 2015, the refund value will increase to 10¢ effective April 1, 2017.

The same bill further expands the law effective January 1, 2018, that all beverage containers except distilled liquor, wine, dairy or plant-based milk, and infant formula will include a deposit.   Water, beer, and carbonated soft drinks will continue to require a deposit and most other beverages, including but not limited to tea, coffee, hard cider, fruit juice, kombucha, and coconut water will be added.

For nearly 40 years, redemption centers did not exist in Oregon, but early in 2010, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission approved the first experimental distributor-run redemption center in Wood Village, and later, Oregon City. Operating under the name BottleDrop and run by the Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative, there are currently 16 redemption centers operating around Oregon.

There can be up to two “convenience zones” surrounding a redemption center.  Large retailers (5,000 square feet or more) within a convenience zone may choose to participate in a redemption center or to provide equivalent services.  Participating large retailers located in the first convenience zone may refuse to redeem any containers and participating large retailers located in the second convenience zone may refuse to redeem more than 24 containers.  Small convenience type retailers (under 5,000 square feet) within either redemption center convenience zone may refuse to redeem more than 24 containers.

Footnotes

[a] Expansion to all listed beverages will occur either when at least 60% of redemptions occur at approved redemption centers, or on January 1, 2018, whichever comes first.

[b] Source: Oregon Beverage Container Return Data 2014

[c] Small amendments were made in 1973, 1977, 1979, 1981, and 1993 doing things like banning nondegradable can ring holders and changing the number of containers that stores are required to redeem per person per day.

Updated July 28, 2016

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