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Bottle deposit hike unfair to consumers

Bottle deposit will increase to 10 cents next year -


OPB - One citizen argues Oregon's bottle deposit system is archaic and irrelevant.I saw where the Oregon bottle deposit is increasing to 10 cents next year because the threshold built into the law requiring at least an 80 percent redemption rate were supposedly not met during the past two years. How does the state account for curb-side recycling into the redemption rate calculation?

I pay Waste Management to pick up recycling at my home. Is the recycling conducted through such companies factored into the redemption rate and if so, exactly how? I called Waste Management today and nobody there could answer my question. If it’s not factored in, doesn’t that explain the rate drop at the redemption sites and is it fair that consumers are being punished with a 100 percent increase in the deposit based on incomplete and inaccurate redemption data?

I assume the objective of the deposit is to encourage recycling. So does it matter if that recycling is conducted through government redemption sites or through businesses such as Waste Management? The result is still the same: People are still recycling. If it doesn’t matter, then do we really need to continue an outdated and irrelevant program? Oregonians are still going to be environmentally conscious and recycle regardless. It seems that compelling people to drive to collection sites creates second and third-order effects to include traffic congestion and burning fossil fuels, which negate the environmental objectives of this program.

Additionally, recycling at the redemption sites is an incredibly inconvenient, time-consuming and unpleasant experience, which is why most people choose a free-market solution and pay for curb-side recycling. The state of Oregon and the Liquor Control Commission seem very proud to be the first state in the country with a bottle bill, which may have made sense in 1971 when it was introduced. Forty-five years later, it seems like an unnecessary and archaic program as free market solutions have evolved to meet consumer demand and attitudes toward recycling and the environment.

Shawn Keller lives in Happy Valley.