Bottle law: Double the deposit, double the bottles

If the pace keeps up, it would raise the statewide return rate to over 90%

Michael Swadberg
FILE - In this July 31, 2015 file photo, Michael Swadberg turns in bottles at a Bottledrop Oregon Redemption Center in Gresham, Ore. Oregon was the first state in the nation to give 5-cent refunds for recycling used water bottles and soda cans more than 45 years ago. Now, in an effort to boost recycling, this eco-trailblazing state is doubling that refund. (AP Photo/Don Ryan, File)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregon’s bottle deposit and return rate doubled to 10 cents just over a month ago, and since that time the rate at which those items have been recycled has also gone up.

Double the deposit meant double-long lines Monday at North Portland’s Delta Park Redemption Center.

“Really, this is a remarkable response in a very short amount of time and we’re pleased to see it,” Jules Bailey with the Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative told KOIN 6 News over the phone. “Since April on, we’ve seen, depending on the redemption center, approximately a doubling of the return volume.”

The busiest drop center, Portland’s Gateway Bottle Drop, has gone from 600,000 or so cans and bottles a week to 1.5 million. If the pace keeps up, it would raise the statewide return rate to over 90%, well over the 65% rate in 2015.

“It’s too early to know if that’s going to continue all year, but certainly the initial trends are pointing in that direction,” Bailey said.

The 10 cent bottle deposit is also fueling an increase in fundraisers, charities and nonprofit groups that are organizing can and bottle drives to raise money.