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March 20th, 2013 MARTY SMITH | Dr. Know
 

Dr. Know: Deposit Posit

Why aren't plastic sportsdrink bottles redeemable for deposit?

drknowILLUSTRATION: Hawk Krall
     
Tags: Dr. Know

I recently learned that plastic sports-drink bottles are not redeemable for the 5-cent deposit. Juice and tea containers are also exempt from the bottle bill. Shouldn’t these also be part of this jewel in Oregon’s legislative crown? 

—Dumpster Diver Needs Money

Diver—you great, quivering blancmange—there are forces at work here far beyond the comprehension of mortal men like you and me. (Dr. Know only pawn in game of life.) Even now, great bureaucratic wheels are turning that will render your question meaningless—better get out of that dumpster before they grind you up.

Allow me to explain: Like most heavy marijuana users, you’ve probably heard voices coming from the general direction of the TV saying something about a bottle-bill expansion. At some later point, you noticed that water bottles now included a 5-cent deposit, and you were all, “Whoa! That must be the new bottle bill!”

Not so fast, Neo—you don’t know kung fu just yet. Only the most saffron-robed of legislative mystics (and people who read the whole newspaper) realize there have been two, count ’em, two bottle-bill expansions in the past few years.

The first took effect in 2009 and covers water bottles—meh. The second, signed into law in 2011, is a much bigger deal: It’ll extend the deposit-and-return paradigm to almost all beverage containers.

But since grocery stores are already sick of redeeming your empties, the massive influx of additional container returns triggered by the law will be handled by new, freestanding “bottle drop” centers.

The deposit expansion won’t take effect until the centers are up and running, or in 2018, whichever comes first. Either way, that dumpster full of sports-drink bottles you’re currently wallowing in will soon be worth money, transforming you into an extremely low-rent version of Scrooge McDuck. Congratulations.


QUESTIONS? Send them to dr.know@wweek.com

 
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