The Message is in the Bottle

Sure they may just look like glass, plastic, or aluminum, but there’s a lot more to bottles and cans than meets the eye, especially here in Oregon. You see, 40 years ago Oregonians decided we wanted to keep bottles and cans out of our forests, parks, beaches, and landfills by supporting Oregon’s economy and environment. The Oregon Bottle Bill, which put a nickel deposit on bottles and cans, was born, and since then we've helped give new life to our recyclable materials. We were the first state to understand that every bottle and can has a story to tell, and everyone can help tell it! Here's the story so far:


Governor Tom McCall helps pass the Oregon Bottle Bill, requiring a deposit on bottles and cans containing beer, malt beverage, mineral and soda waters and carbonated soft drinks. Oregon is the first state in the nation to pass bottle deposit legislation, followed by Vermont, Maine, Michigan and Iowa.


Connecticut, Massachusetts, Delaware, New York and California join the growing Bottle Bill movement. Oregon remains a leader in Bottle Bill participation, reporting an 80% reduction in beverage container litter.


Having already seen drastic improvements in litter control, numerous attempts to expand the Bottle Bill make a clear statement that Oregonians are ready to redeem their containers instead of throwing them in the trash. By the end of the decade, 83% of all redeemable containers purchased in Oregon are being returned––more than twice the national average of 40%.


Oregon's Bottle Bill is expanded to include water bottles due to their increased presence in the marketplace. The Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative (OBRC) is formed to more efficiently orchestrate the bottle bill, picking up and processing millions of containers from nearly 3,000 grocery stores all across the state––keeping more than 135 million pounds of recyclable material out of landfills each year.


The first cooperative redemption centers are opened in Wood Village and Oregon City to relieve nearby retailers of the obligation to handle empty containers. Known as BottleDrop Centers, these locations make returning redeemable containers and collecting your refund fast, clean and convenient. Legislation is also passed to include all beverages except wine, liquor, milk, and milk substitutes, which will go into effect in January 2018.