New Change for Oregon’s Bottle Bill

by Kevin Kasowski, Director of Foundations and Corporate Relations

Whenever I travel outside of Oregon, I appreciate living here even more. It’s not just the greenery, the cities and towns or the mountains and ocean. It’s the environmental ethic that so many Oregonians share.

When I’m out of state, I quickly notice things I don’t see here, like a lot more trash in city parks and along roadsides. I quickly find myself perplexed about what to do with the beer bottle in my hand and how much harder it is to recycle anything (and how many people simply don’t). Sadly, many other parts of the U.S. have never left the “throwaway society” behind.

“No deposit, no return.” OEC archives, 1972.

But Oregon did, in 1971. That year, Oregon Environmental Council (OEC) helped lead the way to adoption of our Bottle Bill.

OEC even had a burial service for “no deposit no return” throwaways (see photo). Curbside recycling followed a decade later. A whole movement toward “sustainability” then grew from this new environmental ethic.

Indeed, I’ve met many Oregonians who recycle with a passion. If environmentalism were a religion, recycling would surely be one of their sacred rites.

I’m not quite that holy. I confess that I dread hauling bottles and cans to the grocery store, often having to wait in line to feed them in one-by-one, only to have the machine fill or jam.

But not anymore. Times change, and even as the Bottle Bill deposit increases to a dime, it’s also now easier than ever to recycle thanks to a new BottleDrop program that I signed up for.

Now, I take my cans and bottles to the nearest BottleDrop, drop them off and go onto my next errand. BottleDrop attendants count the bottles and cans, saving me time and hassle. My refund gets added electronically to my account and I can redeem it for cash at any BottleDrop and many grocery stores.

But it gets better. You can also now donate your refunds to charity via the BottleDrop website. (Mine, of course, go to OEC which seems fitting since it helped put the Bottle Bill in place back in the day.)

So if you’re feeling a bit grumpy about the new dime deposit, make your life easier and set up an account at your nearest BottleDrop. You’ll get a double dose of feel-good: not just for recycling but for donating your refund to OEC so that it can keep advancing the next generation of Oregon’s environmental protections!


What difference does recycling cans and bottles make?
Think of it this way: 1 billion cans are recycled in Oregon via the Bottle Bill each year. If you laid those cans end to end in the median of I-5 at the California border, you would reach the Interstate Bridge to Washington in 18 days. If you kept stacking the cans over the course of a year, you’d have a wall 20 feet tall, from Portland to beyond Ashland. Over the 40+ year lifespan of the Bottle Bill, the wall down the middle of I-5 from Washington to California would be taller than the US Bancorp tower in Portland. Read more about the environmental impacts of Oregon’s Bottle Bill.

If the Bottle Bill had never been enacted, all of those containers would be in our landfills.

Read more about Oregon’s Bottle Drop Centers.

Related Posts
Filter by
Post Page
Water News Water Conservation Featured Rural Partnerships Agriculture Air Quality Climate Protection OCAP-Page Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Toxic Free Priorities OCAP News People Toxics-Free Environments Policy OEC News/Updates/Events Media/PR/Statements
Sort by

Road-trips, Representatives and Adventures in Eastern Oregon

Summer is road-trip time, and recently, OEC staff Karen Lewotsky (Water Policy and Rural Partnerships Director) and Morgan Gratz-Weiser (Legislative Director) headed southeast across Oregon to Crane, with stops along the way in Tumalo and Prineville. Why Crane? The gathering in Crane was organized by leading legislators and partner organizations Verde, Willamette
September 10, 2021, 8:24 pm
klew

9

New report elevates water justice in Oregon

A new report from the Oregon Water Futures Project reveals water challenges facing communities across the state, from water shortages, to living with unsafe water, watching sacred ecosystems disappear, and critical information gaps about clean water during emergencies. The report highlights key findings from community
September 2, 2021, 11:10 pm
stacey

9

Strengthening Oregon’s Climate Protection Program

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is getting closer to finalizing rules for a new Climate Protection Program. Over the past year, DEQ has made a number of positive changes to strengthen the rules; however, a few key policy design features still hang in the
August 31, 2021, 10:07 pm
noraaoeconline-org

9

silhouette of person in tractor working a field

Centering Frontline Voices: Oregon OSHA Enacts Heat & Smoke Rules

In a summer already marked by unprecedented temperatures and a devastating wildfire season, OEC and its partners pressed Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to adopt a health-first standard when it comes to protecting vulnerable workers from climate hazards. As part of EO-20-04 (OCAP), Governor Kate Brown directed Oregon OSHA to develop standards in order to protect frontline workers from excessive heat
August 11, 2021, 3:57 pm
jamie-pang

9

Oregon OSHA Enacts Emergency Heat Rules

A Joint Press Release – July 8, 2021 Contacts: Ira Cuello-Martinez, PCUN iracuello@pcun.org, (503) 851-5774 Kate Suisman, Northwest Justice Workers Project
July 13, 2021, 6:19 pm
jamie-pang

9

Oregon Climate Action Plan: 2021 Progress Report

March 26, 2021, 12:11 am
noraaoeconline-org

9

Celebrating Year 1 of the Oregon Climate Action Plan

March 10, 2021, 7:51 pm
noraaoeconline-org

9

Statement on Protecting Oregon’s Democratic Process

Today, Oregon Environmental Council sent a strong statement to Oregon’s legislative leadership
January 21, 2021, 10:49 pm
dianan

9

OHA Report: Climate Crisis a Current and Growing Threat to the Health of Oregonians

The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) just released its “Climate and Health in Oregon 2020” report, documenting the public health impacts from climate change across Oregon. The report is the first thorough analysis of the health effects of climate change in Oregon since 2014, and is the first of three OHA deliverables directed under EO 20-04, the Oregon Climate Action Plan. The report findings are grim, confirming what OEC has been saying all along– that climate change is a public he
January 5, 2021, 8:15 pm
jamie-pang

9

Oregon Clean Fuels Program: Building Back Better

December 28, 2020, 9:00 am
mcadmin

9


1 Reply to "New Change for Oregon's Bottle Bill"