The Latest: Oregonians cash in on increased bottle refunds

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Posted: Apr 01, 2017 8:52 PM
The Latest: Oregonians cash in on increased bottle refunds

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The Latest on Oregon residents cashing in on increased refunds for recycling bottles and cans (all times local):

3:10 p.m.

Some of the most thrifty, eco-conscious Oregon residents, each hauling hundreds of used water bottles and soda cans in trash bags and carts, flocked to bottle-recycling centers and grocery stores Saturday — the first day the per-bottle refund rate doubled to 10 cents.

Oregon was the first state in the nation to give 5-cent refunds for recycling used soda cans and glass bottles more than 45 years ago through its so-called Bottle Bill.

Today, with other recycling options now commonplace, this eco-trailblazing Pacific Northwest state is hoping to revamp the program by doubling that refund on bottled and canned water, soda, beer and malt beverages — regardless what their labels say.

The most frugal of Oregonians have been hoarding bottles for months in anticipation of the roll-out. Even the press pool at the state Capitol in Salem has been buying cases of water bottles and stockpiling the empties to pay for a pizza party.

Many grocery stores and the 20 or so bottle redemption sites across the state were bustling with activity, as expected, on Saturday.

A newly-built BottleDrop redemption site in north Portland, Oregon experienced heavy foot traffic steadily throughout the day that employees say is usually only seen during peak hours on the typical Saturday.

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12:33 p.m.

People in Oregon lined up to turn in their used soda cans and glass bottles Saturday, the first day of a new refund that doubled the amount they could get to 10-cents per can.

Oregon was the first state to give 5-cent refunds for recycling used soda cans and glass bottles more than 45 years ago.

Now with other recycling options commonplace, the state is working to revamp the program by doubling that refund on bottled and canned water, soda, beer and malt beverages — regardless of what their labels say.

Oregon's 1971 Bottle Bill has been replicated in nine other states and the U.S. territory of Guam. Michigan is the only other state with an across-the-board payout as high as 10 cents per bottle, although booze and other large bottles carry a 10-cent payout in California and 15 cents in Maine and Vermont.

The system was a big hit in its early years. But as curbside recycling and pickup services were brought on board two decades later — not to mention inflationary effects on the nickel's value — the rates at which Oregonians cashed in their bottles and cans gradually tumbled from 90 percent averages to less than 70 percent of all bottle sales statewide in 2014 and 2015.

That decline triggered the new 10-cent rate — a provision lawmakers added in 2011.