Starting Monday, Oregonians will have more incentive to recycle their old Gatorade bottles and Red Bull cans.
Oregon’s can and bottle deposit law is expanding in 2018 from soda, beer and water to include a long list of other beverages whose containers can now be redeemed for a 10 cent deposit.
“Generally, if you can pour it and drink it, it’s covered,” a notice on the Oregon Liquor Control Commission’s website says.
There are still exceptions for wine, distilled spirits, infant formula, milk and meal-replacement beverages. But an updated list of containers now includes sealed containers between 4 ounces and 1.5 liters for coffee, tea, juice, energy drinks, sports drinks, protein shakes, kombucha and several other beverages.
The Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative, which runs the BottleDrop center in Hermiston and works with beverage distributors throughout the state to coordinate recycling of more than 1.2 billion containers per year, wrote in a news release that it had invested more than $3 million in new machinery, including $2 million in BottleDrop centers and $1.1 million in new sorting machines at grocery stores to prepare for the change. It also added 16 new employees, several new trucks and trailers and expanded capacity at a plastic recycling facility in St. Helens.
“The expansion of the bottle bill that starts on Jan. 1 is an important step toward bringing the success of the bottle bill in line with the kinds of products that are out there today, keeping more litter out of Oregon’s beautiful natural areas, and making sure that those containers are getting recycled,” wrote Jules Bailey, chief stewardship officer of the OBRC.
Many recyclers, including Pendleton Sanitary Service, have stopped accepting plastic containers due to new restrictions from China that have stopped overseas exports of mixed plastics. But according to the OBRC news release, 100 percent of the plastic collected by the cooperative at grocery stores and BottleDrop centers is processed in Oregon. That means plastic containers such as juice bottles that have been headed to landfills in recent weeks can go back to being recycled.
“The inclusion of new beverage products in the bottle bill is a testament to the enduring success of Oregon’s bottle deposit system,” John Anderson, president of the OBRC, said in a statement. “We’ve worked hard to prepare so that Oregonians will experience a smooth, hassle-free transition.”
According to the OLCC website, in 2016 a total of 64 percent of beverage containers eligible for a deposit refund were returned for a refund in 2016.
Contact Jade McDowell at firstname.lastname@example.org or 541-564-4536.