It likely went unnoticed that with the new year came an expanded Oregon Bottle Bill (read: more beverages that now cost ten cents extra).
In April, Oregon increased the deposit amount for returnable cans and bottles from five cents to ten cents. At the time, refundable bottles and cans included soda, beer and water in sizes of three liters or less.
The expanded bottle bill, effective as of January 1, now covers bottles or cans ranging in size from four ounces to 1.5 liters. Meaning coffee, tea, Kombucha, energy drinks, hard cider, juice, protein drinks and marijuana beverages now require a ten-cent deposit and are eligible for redemption.
In fact, now that the list of beverages included in the bottle bill has become so long, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission just publishes a list of what's not included. Wine, milk, meal-replacement drinks and baby formula are among the few remaining deposit-free containers.
Manufacturers of newly deposit-eligible drinks have until January 1, 2019 to include the ten-cent refund value on container labeling. But, the OLCC says, the refund value is included in the price of the drink regardless of what's printed on the label.
While the deposit increase is meant to motivate recycling, and raise Oregon's sad bottle and can redemption rate—which is currently around 64%—critics point out that it's the beverage companies who stand to profit most.
When beer and soda bottles and cans aren't redeemed, WW reported last February ahead of the April deposit increase, the beverage distribution companies get to keep the deposits.
Also, whether the expansion to the bottle bill actually motivates people to take their empties to redemption centers has yet to be seen.