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Recycling numbers down, so bottle deposit rising to 10 cents

Redemption value will double in April 2017; increase tripped by state law


The refund Oregonians will get from returning used soda cans and beer bottles is about to go up, because the Oregon Liquor Control Commission has announced that it will double the redemption value of the Oregon Bottle Bill.

Starting in April, the redemption rate for bottles and cans will increase to 10 cents per container.PMG FILE - According to the OLCC, which enforces the state's Bottle Bill, only about 64.5 percent of consumers returned their empty bottles and cans to the state in 2015, lower than the 68.26 percent rate documented in 2014.

According to the OLCC, which enforces the state’s Bottle Bill, only about 64.5 percent of consumers returned their empty bottles and cans to the state in 2015, lower than the 68.26 percent rate documented in 2014.

Under state law, if the return rate for beverage containers falls below 80 percent for two years in a row, then the redemption value of those containers must increase to 10 cents per container.

Oregon was the first state in the country to pass a bottle bill when voters approved the idea in 1971. The bill required customers to pay 5-cent deposits on cans and bottles, which they can reclaim when they recycle the containers instead of throwing them away.

Only 10 states and Guam have bottle bills. Oregon will become the second state with a 10-cent deposit for all bottles and cans, joining Michigan. Most other states have a 5-cent deposit, though Maine and Vermont have 15-cent deposits for liquor bottles.

According to the OLCC, the agency has already begun reaching out to bottle manufacturers, beverage distributors and retail outlets about changes to bottles and in-store signs.

“We have many partners in the beverage, retail and recycling industries,” Steve Marks, OLCC executive director, said in a statement. “We will be working with our partners over the next eight months to make this transition as smooth as possible for consumers and industry employees.”

The new bottle deposit doesn’t come as a surprise. The state has seen fewer and fewer people returning the bottles and cans over the past several years, though it still doubles the national average.