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Improving access to redemption is just one of the ways that the bottle deposit program is helping St. Helens

PMG FILE PHOTO - BottleDrop Express provides a valuable service to St. Helens residents.

As the store manager for the St. Helens Safeway, and the state representative for the district, we share a common desire to see our community prosper. That's why we're excited the Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative (OBRC) has put a BottleDrop Express site at our store.

Oregon's bottle deposit and return program has worked well to keep our roadsides and rivers litter-free. Now the expansion of the program to include more recycling, and the addition of more BottleDrop locations like the one in St. Helens, will mean more economic opportunity in Columbia County.

The new solar-powered drop box at our Safeway makes returning your bottles and cans, and getting your deposit back, easier than ever. Instead of putting individual containers into machines, members of our community can now make use of BottleDrop's outstanding Green Bag account program.

Signing up for an account is easy, and you can do it right in store and get your bags there, too. Then you fill the green bags at home with your containers and drop them off to be processed. Your bag will be picked up, sorted and counted, and the money will be put in your BottleDrop Account. You can either get cash from your account in store, or if you spend it on your groceries, you can get an extra 20 percent added to your balance by using the BottleDrop PLUS option. That's real savings for our community. There's even a BottleDrop Express location in Scappoose, too.

Improving access to redemption is just one of the ways that the bottle deposit program helping St. Helens. As a co-owner of ORPET, the plastic recycling facility here in town, OBRC is also providing more than 20 permanent full-time jobs. ORPET employees are responsible for processing 100% of all the plastic containers redeemed in the entire state of Oregon. In 2017 alone, this facility processed over 17 million pounds of plastic, generating high-quality recycled materials for manufacturers. As the bottle deposit program expands to include more plastic containers that means more jobs and more investment in St. Helens.

The bottle deposit system represents much of what makes Oregon an outstanding place to live: concern for the community, conservation of our natural landscape, and private sector leadership. We hope you enjoy using the BottleDrop Express site, shopping at our Safeway, and knowing that your plastic bottles

are getting recycled right here in town.

Rep. Brad Witt represents House District 31 in the Oregon legislature; Doug Knight works as store manager at Safeway.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The BottleDrop Express in Scappoose is located at the Fred Meyer grocery store, 51501 Columbia River Highway.

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