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
Featured Toxic Free Priorities Policy Climate Protection Environmental Health Transportation Solutions Air Quality OCAP News OCAP-Page Toxics-Free Environments Media/PR/Statements
Sort by
Sparks Lake Oregon

Oregon’s Looming Water Crisis

There are over 12 state agencies involved with managing Oregon’s water. And a recent state audit determined that things are not as coordinated as they need to be. Existing laws are tied to property rights and based on an outdated worldview. These policies make it hard to live up to the Endangered Species Act, honor T
March 21, 2023, 10:00 pm


water bottles lined up

On Valentine’s Day, groups call on the Oregon Legislature to ‘break up with plastic’

For Immediate Release Tuesday, February 14, 2023 — Plastic pollution reduction bills are having a public hearing. Salem, Ore.— Valentine’s Day is typically a day for expressing love and affection to romantic partners. However, it can also be a reminder of toxic relationships: like the one we have with plastics. This Valentine’s Day, environmental g
February 14, 2023, 6:54 pm


A farmworker carries berries in a field

Climate Protection Win for Oregon Workers

Industry plaintiffs brought two claims against rules to protect workers in Oregon from the harmful and dangerous impacts of exposure to heat and smoke. Both suits were dismissed “with prejudice” which means they were dismissed permanently and cannot be brought to Court again.   On December 20, 2022, the U.S. District Court in Medford dismissed
January 23, 2023, 8:03 pm


Tolling in Oregon: What’s The Deal?

What is tolling? It seems like a simple question, but a “toll” can be understood in many different ways. Most simply, a toll is a charge for driving a vehicle on a specific piece of roadway.  Looking beyond that, though, there are a lot of really interesting questions worth considering.  For example, how much should a toll cost? What is the toll really paying for? Should every vehicle be
November 14, 2022, 9:13 pm


The Inflation Reduction Act for Oregon

Only a few months ago, things were not looking good for federal climate action. The Supreme Court had just voted to strike down the Clean Power Plan. Senator Manchin of West Virginia had just announced he would not support a reconciliation package with new spending on climate change. And, after decades of denial, delay, and failed attempts, everyone’s hope was wearing thin.  Then, seemingly out of thin air, Senate D
November 14, 2022, 8:31 pm


Clean Cars Are the Future – It’s Time to Update Oregon’s Standards

It is (past) time we break up with oil! Not only do the big changes in the price of gas affect our wallets, but burning fossil fuels is bad for the climate and our health. Oregon has the opportunity to be a leader in the transition to electric vehicles and get on the path to meeting our climate pollution reduction goals by adopting the Advanced Clean Car II
October 5, 2022, 5:35 pm


Breathe Easier: Cleaner Fuels and Cleaner Air for Oregonians

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 23, 2022 MEDIA CONTACT: Joel Schoening, (503) 349-3254 Breathe Easier: Cleaner Fuels and Cleaner Air for Oregonians State Adopts Nation’s Strongest Standards for Clean Fuels Salem, OR – Today, Oregon set a new nation-leading standard that will protect our air from fossil f
September 23, 2022, 7:44 pm


Climate Victory! Oregon Clean Fuels Standard Now Strongest in the Nation

Oregon just took a huge step toward reducing climate and air pollution from our top emitting sector. The Oregon Environmental Quality Commission (EQC) today adopted an expanded Clean Fuels Program, more than tripling our existing standard to make it the strongest in the nation. See our joint press release here.
September 23, 2022, 7:44 pm


Coalition of State and National Groups Files Intervention to Defend Oregon’s Climate Protection Program Against Oil and Gas Industry Attack

For Immediate Release September 7, 2022 Salem, OR – A coalition of environmental justice, climate, and business organizations today filed a legal intervention
September 7, 2022, 9:01 pm


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