Oregonians flock to redemption centers as state doubles rate to 10 cents
- Oregon's new 10-cent redemption rate has now taken effect, making it the second in the nation to offer the higher amount in hopes driving more container recycling participation, as reported by Fox 25.
- Oregon's redemption program was the first in the country and its peak was driving an average annual redemption rate of 90%. By 2014 that number had dropped below 70% of all bottle sales.
- One redemption center in the city of Medford reported significantly higher volumes during the first weekend of this new system. A normal weekend would usually yield up to 10,000 containers whereas they received 30,000 during this past weekend, as reported by KTVL.
The potential for a 10-cent return was established in the latest update to the state's bottle bill and the Oregon Liquor Control Commission made the decision to implement it last summer after consecutive years of low redemption rates. While the high volumes reported this weekend are expected to level off as residents had reportedly been saving up their containers in anticipation, the hope is that this new rate will still encourage increased participation. Of the 11 states and territories that have redemption programs Michigan is the only one to also offer 10 cents and this continues to draw high interest, including some illegal activity from out-of-state residents.
Unlike Michigan, Oregon's system is operated by private interests and doesn't divert unredeemed refunds to the state government. Iowa, the only other state with a similar set-up, is currently in the process of rethinking its own redemption system. A contentious bill that would repeal the current system received committee approval last month though no further action is expected on it this year. In a different approach, Connecticut recently considered raising its own redemption rate to 10 cents.
This shift is part of a larger effort in Oregon to increase the state's diversion rate to 52% by 2020. Current diversion efforts are close to achieving that goal, though additional redemption activity could help put them over the top. The state has also announced plans for a pilot to collect and distribute refillable glass beer bottles that will make its redemption program even more interesting to watch in the coming years.
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