|Name||The Beverage Container Act|
|Purpose||To reduce litter and increase recycling|
|Enacted||2 July 1971|
|Date Implemented||1 October 1972|
Beverages ≤ 3L:
Beverages between 4 oz and 1.5L:
|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. See details below for information about Oregon's BottleDrop refillables program.|
|Containers Not Covered||Beverages in cartons, foil pouches, drink boxes, and metal containers that require a tool to be opened are not included even if the beverage and container size would otherwise have a refund value.|
|Amount of Deposit||10¢ (Increased from 5¢ as of 1 April 2017)|
|Reclamation System||Retail stores or approved redemption centers. As of early 2020, there were 25 redemption centers operating.|
|Handling Fee||None; co-op funds redemption centers in partnership with retailers
|Unredeemed Deposits||Retained by distributor/ bottlers / Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative|
|Redemption Rate [b]||
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 [a] until bottled water was added to the system in 2009. The law was expanded again to allow for an increase of the deposit/refund value to 10¢ beginning in 1 April 2017 as a result of the redemption rate staying below 80% for two consecutive years (68.26% in 2014 and 64.45% in 2015).
The same bill further expanded the law. Effective 1 January 2018, all beverage containers except distilled liquor, wine, dairy or plant-based milk, and infant formula now included a deposit. Water, beer, and carbonated soft drinks continue to require a deposit and most other beverages, including but not limited to tea, coffee, hard cider, fruit juice, kombucha, and coconut water were 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, a privately-owned extended producer responsibility (EPR) organization, there are currently 25 redemption centers operating around Oregon. Distributors first began reporting to OLCC for the 2012 calendar year, based on a change in state law. Before that, there was no systematic reporting of beverage sales and returns in 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.
A refillables system in Oregon is operated by OBRC, and uses standardized, Oregon-specific bottles. The program is open to all bottlers. As of early 2021, 11 bottlers of beer, wine, and hard cider were selling about 100 beverage brands in OBRC refillables. Existing BottleDrop locations are used for bottle redemption. OBRC reported that this system prevented 407,840 bottles from being crushed and recycled in 2019. [c]
[a] Small amendments were made in 1973, 1977, 1979, 1981, and 1993 to ban nondegradable can ring holders and change the number of containers that stores are required to redeem per person per day.
Kombucha and hard seltzer were added through SB 247, signed by the Governor on 6/13/19: https://gov.oregonlive.com/bill/2019/SB247/
Kefir, drinkable yogurt, and other milk-based and plant-based smoothies and beverages were added administratively by a seven-member panel of the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, effective 1/1/2020: https://www.oregon.gov/olcc/docs/news/news_releases/2019/nr_122019_BottleBill_Updates_2019_alc.pdf
[b] Source: Oregon Liquor Control Commission website, Beverage Container Return Rates, 2012-2019.
[c] Personal communication with Eric Chambers, OBRC, Feb. 16, 2021; OBRC presentation at CRI webinar: “The Return of Refillables in the United States,” December 13, 2018. See also “Oregon Launches First Statewide Refillable Bottle System In US.” Oregon Public Broadcasting, Aug. 27, 2018; OBRC’s refillable bottle drop web page, accessed 10/14/20.
"2021 Beverage Container Redemption Centers 2018 – 2019," See Report
"2019 Annual Report," Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative, See Report
"2018 Annual Report," Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative, See Report
"2017 Annual Report," Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative, See Report
Last Updated 28 May 2021.