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 beverage
Amount of Deposit Standard refillable: 2¢; all others 5¢ (with potential to increase to 10¢)
Reclamation System Retail stores or approved redemption centers
Unredeemed Deposits Retained by distributor/ bottlers
Handling Fee none
Redemption Rate 2014 Redemption rate:

Metal: 74.26%
Glass: 71.92%
PET: 55.44%
Overall: 68.26%[b]


Oregon enacted the nation's first legislated beverage container deposit system in 1971. The law remained relatively unchanged until 2007,[c] when bottled water was added to the system (effective in 2009). The law was expanded again in 2011 to cover all beverages except wine, liquor, milk, and milk substitutes, but this provision will not go into effect until either January 1, 2018, or when at least 60% of redemptions occur at approved redemption centers, whichever comes first.

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 (with more planned for the future). Operating under the name BottleDrop and run by the Oregon Beverage Reycling Cooperative, the redemption centers relieve nearby retailers of the obligation to handle empty containers.

The 2011 legislation also authorizes the beverage cooperative to create a single large-scale redemption center serving a larger area than that served by either of the two centers built in 2010.  This pilot project contains provisions that would encourage large beverage retailers within three miles of the pilot redemption center to support the redemption center, and would add penalizing requirement to beverage retailers who do not actively help support the project.

The same bill also allowed for an increase of the deposit/refund value to 10¢ after January 2016 if the redemption rate falls below 80% for two consecutive years. However, the new beverages added to the law under the 2011 expansion are not permitted to be used in calculation of the redemption rate until 2021.


[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 5, 2016

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