Oregon Grocery Stores Don’t Have to Accept Returnable Cans and Bottles Until June 1

COVID-19 concerns have sidelined Oregon's iconic Bottle Bill.

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission today announced it would prolong until June the suspension of the requirement that grocery stores accept returnable cans and bottles under the state's Bottle Bill.

The agency earlier suspended its requirement that retailers accept returns because of concerns about transmission of the COVID-19 virus.

"In light of continuing pandemic-related operational concerns for grocers and supermarkets, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission has again extended the non-enforcement of redemption requirements for Oregon retailers that choose not to accept empty beverage containers for redemption," the agency said in a statement. "The enforcement suspension will now stay in effect until May 31, 2020. The OLCC will not issue stores a notice of violation if they don't take back empty redeemable beverage containers during the temporary period."

That's a decision with big fiscal consequences. In 2018, Oregonians returned more than 2 billion containers to redeem their deposits. That's about 167 million containers per month—or, at a dime a container, $16.7 million that will stay in the system rather than going back to people who redeem containers.

As WW previously reported, the temporarily closure of retailers has pushed redeemers to the fringes of the city, with predictably contentious results.

Landlord Threatens to Evict North Portland BottleDrop, Saying Crowds Lining Up to Return Cans Are a COVID-19 Hazard

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