Inbox: Letters About Oregon's Bottle Bill

Bottle-Deposit Increase

Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative would like to correct several assertions in Nigel Jaquiss' article regarding Oregon's Bottle Bill and the beverage industry ["Used," WW, Feb. 1, 2017]. OBRC is the operational entity for beverage distributors in Oregon. It is a nationally recognized model for a privately run, self-sustaining program requiring no taxpayer dollars.

Jaquiss writes that unredeemed nickels currently held by distributors simply increase profits. That is factually inaccurate. Unclaimed deposits specifically offset the cost of picking up and processing returned containers and building BottleDrop redemption centers. OBRC's current annual operating budget is more than $34 million and increasing each year with the opening of new BottleDrop centers.

OBRC is committed to an aggressive buildup of BottleDrop centers, and completion of 45 centers statewide is still our goal. Since Oregon Liquor Control Commission approval in 2013, OBRC has successfully reached its center-opening goal each year. In 2017, OBRC expects to open six centers, bringing the statewide total to 25. Additionally, OBRC has debuted an innovative program called "BottleDrop Express" that brings the convenience of BottleDrop to rural and urban areas where siting a full redemption center is not feasible.

Jaquiss also asserts that it's "highly likely" the redemption rate will stay the same, yet cites no data to support this assumption. Michigan, the only state with a universal 10-cent deposit, reports a redemption rate of 94 percent. If Oregon mirrors Michigan, unredeemed deposits will be a fraction of what they are today.

We hope future articles will accurately reflect all facts about Oregon's Bottle Bill.

—Cherilyn Bertges, spokeswoman
Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative

Thank you for bringing this issue to people's attentions. Bottle redemption has been a pain since I learned about this situation years ago while working with the OLCC and beverage distributors.

I don't like to give my cans to the homeless, it's sucks returning them as everyone knows, and I absolutely refuse to give Paul Romain and Columbia Distributing another nickel.

My solution is to donate them to a nonprofit. Maybe the 10-cent deposit will encourage the Boy Scouts or others to take this on as a fundraiser—set up shop in a rotating church parking lot every Saturday morning.

—"Dwight"

Since they are making $30 million, why shouldn't distributors be made to install more/better bottle-return machines and staff them at retail stores? It's the disgusting and poorly serviced machines that keep people from recycling.

The BottleDrop centers put more of the burden on consumers without any benefit to them. These centers are not conveniently located, poorly staffed, dirty, slow and are only open 9 am to 6 pm. People don't take time off from work to take in their recycling.

—"Bingo"

Letters to the editor must include the author's street address and phone number for verification. Letters must be 250 or fewer words. Submit to: 2220 NW Quimby St., Portland, OR 97210. Email: mzusman@wweek.com.