Oregon's oldest grassroots nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a sustainable future through local efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle.

Bottle Bill

The Oregon bottle bill passed the 1971 legislature as a litter bill, designed to clean up the roadsides of Oregon. The bill remained the same, despite several attempts by the legislature and by initiative, until the 2007 legislature added water and flavored water to the deposit, instructed the OLCC to set standards for redemption centers, and established a task force to report back to the 2009 legislature on five items including comments on raising the deposit from a nickel to a dime.

Recycling Advocates long pushed for the inclusion of all single serve drinks, with the exclusion of dairy products. The reason is that most single serve liquids are consumed away from home and thus does not get into the curbside containers for recycling. Recycling Advocates advocated tirelessly for bottle bill modernization. HB 3145 included the expansion of the types of beverage containers covered and a deposit increase to ten cents.

On the heels of the February’s 40th Anniversary celebration for Oregon’s Bottle Bill, HB 3145, sponsored by the bi-partisan team of Representatives Vicki Berger and Ben Cannon, was introduced to modernize and expand the bottle bill, which the house passed in May 2011.

Oregon Governor Kitzhaber Signs the Expanded Bottle Bill Into Law

On June 9, 2011, Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber signed into law HB 3145-B, the latest revision to Oregon’s landmark bottle bill. The new law includes more beverage containers covered under the nickel deposit. This includes beer, soft drinks, water, juice and sports drinks. The law modernizes the original ammended Oregon’s Bottle Bill, which the Oregonian called “one of the most significant pieces of non-budget-related legislation to make its way through the capitol this year and perhaps the environment lobby’s biggest win this session,” passed the Oregon Senate with a vote of 19-11 on Wednesday, May 25, 2011.

It was a long time coming. Bottle Bill modernization was a priority for Recycling Advocates for many legislative sessions and was the focus of much of our energy and efforts over several years. What better way to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Bottle Bill, Oregon’s seminal product stewardship legislation, than by keeping it relevant for many future generations.

Main components of HB 3145-B:
1. Expands beverage containers that are covered by the deposit to include sports drinks, energy drinks, coffee, tea, juice, and similar non-carbonated drinks by Jan. 1, 2018 at the latest;
2. Raises the refund value of beverage containers from 5 to 10 cents if we fall below an 80% return rate by January 2017 at the earliest; and
3. Creates a pilot project for a redemption center to be built somewhere other than Portland that is based on a tiered “convenience zone” model and encourages more participation from dealers within these zones.

In summary, all legitimate beverages are to be included with the exception of wine, distilled liquor, milk and plant-based milks, and infant formula.

Even with increased recycling opportunities throughout Oregon since the passage of the original bill in 1971,
Recycling Advocates firmly believes that the Bottle Bill is the most effective recycling program that Oregon
has. Expansion is key to keeping our recycling rates of beverage containers one of the highest in the nation.

Obviously we’d like to see the components of the expansion go into effect sooner than is prescribed by HB 3145, but we also understand the tremendous efforts and negotiations that helped broker this bi-partisan agreement and feel that HB 3145 is truly a win-win for all stakeholders.

Recyling Advocates thanks Representatives Ben Cannon and Vicki Berger for their tremendous efforts in helping bring Bottle Bill modernization to fruition. In addition, we give a special “thank you” to Senate President Peter Courtney, whose impassioned testimony in both the House and Senate committee hearings set the tone for success and made the hearings memorable. Without his leadership and passion for the bottle bill it probably wouldn’t have been a success. (For a great summary of the history of HB 3145, as well as opportunities to listen to the testimony, visit the Oregonian’s Bill Tracker page for HB 3145.)

Recycling Advocates thanks all of its members who called and sent letters of support to their legislators. Your efforts made the difference!

Resources:

Oregonian Bill Tracker – HB3145

BottleBill.org – Oregon Bottle Bill Summary

BottleBill.org – media news and articles

Don Waggoner Bottle Bill pioneer dies at 81

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