Readers Respond to Fentanyl Trade at Bottle Returns

“Does anyone seriously believe addicts will suddenly stop smoking fetty just because they can’t turn in bottles and cans?”

YES WE CAN: Street activity outside the Safeway on Southwest 11th Avenue. (Nathaniel Perales)


Efforts to change the Bottle Bill [”House of Cans,” WW, Feb. 7] are well intentioned but incredibly misguided (aka stupid). I am a middle-class Portlander living near houseless communities. Yes, can collecting is unsightly and a processing burden. Yes, the money is often used for drugs. Yes, giving out food or service credits sounds better than cash. But…

If Salem removes the ability to get cash for cans and bottles, petty theft will skyrocket as drug users seek other forms of cash to feed their habit. Cans and bottles will once again litter the streets and highways of Oregon. Drug addicts don’t want credits for food or recovery. Drug addiction is far too compelling to fantasize that changing the Bottle Bill will somehow magically reduce drug use. It won’t. At. All.

What it will do is promote crime in our neighborhoods and more littering, driving down the quality of life for all us, while benefiting a few business interests and making it all less visible to people who don’t want to take responsibility for what it really takes to address drug addiction....The state Legislature needs to leave the Bottle Bill alone.

JD Williams

Northeast Portland


Thanks for publishing the story discussing the issues surrounding Oregon’s Bottle Bill and fentanyl. I will say that two things stood out.

First of all, any former CEO of any retailer is going to be against the Bottle Bill. These companies exist to sell you things, not buy things from you. They will resist the Bottle Bill now and forever.

Secondly, it speaks to how much profit the Rite Aid made selling the products that come in these containers that they would rather stop selling everything they sell instead of just stopping selling the items that they are forced by law to accept the return of containers.

The solution to this issue truly is in the hands of the consumer. There is virtually no reason to buy water in bottles. Beer can be bought all over town in growlers. Finally, just knock it off with the soda pop and energy drinks. That stuff is nasty.

Don Anderson

Oak Park, Ill.


It will be disastrous if Oregon legislators scrap our bottle return bill!

I mean, does anyone seriously believe addicts will suddenly stop smoking fetty just because they can’t turn in bottles and cans? I’m homeless because of gentrification, and I’m unemployable because of disabilities. If this meager income’s taken away from me, I really don’t see how I’ll be able to avoid occasionally stealing…not to buy dope but to buy salami and cheese and bread at Trader Joe’s! Either that or at 50 somehow find a way to start all over in another state that isn’t being destroyed by the ignorant and selfish politics of NIMBY colonials and insurrectionist rednecks.

The answer’s totally obvious: expand the green bag bottle return system! It’s a good system that provides the poor with necessary income while keeping storefronts clean and safe and relieving store employees from the tedious process of counting out bottles and cans by hand—in fact, I think stores that accept green bottle return bags shouldn’t be required to do any hand counts at all. It’s so simple, a homeless person thought it up! It’s also much cheaper and more humane than the police state Oregon will become when even the homeless who aren’t drug addicts break into cars.

Jeffery L. McAllister


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