Local stores get a rush after Bottle Bill refund doubles

Sean C. Morgan

Taking advantage of an increase in the deposit on beverage containers from 5 to 10 cents, residents crowded into local retailers Saturday to turn in empty bottles.

Thriftway saw a 30-percent increase over its normal activity for the day, said Manager Chad McDonald, whose store handles hundreds of thousands of cans annually.

In 2011, the Oregon Legislature passed a law that triggered the increase to 10 cents for 2017 at the earliest if the recycling rate fell below 80 percent for two consecutive years.

OLCC records show the redemption rate falling from 70.95 percent in 2012 to 64.45 percent in 2015, which triggered the boost in the deposit.

Savvy customers were clearly saving their cans.

“The first day, we had an influx of people that saved cans,” McDonald said.

Barbara Record, manager of Foster Lake Market, also reported a rush on April 1.

“I think everybody in town waited till Saturday to bring them back. Any given day, we’ll do one cart load. Just evening shift did six cart loads.”

Nishawn Singh, manager at Hilltop Market, said he’s been seeing four to five new customers daily.

Business also is picking up with the good weather, Record said.

“We went through a complete week’s worth of supplies in two days.”

Saturday, the redemption value for eligible containers under Oregon’s Bottle Bill increased from 5 cents to 10 cents. The deposit is charged when the product is purchased and refunded when the empty container is returned to a store.

The new deposit will cost customers up front.

With the increase, McDonald said, there are times that deposit can cost more than the product, for example when a 24-pack of water is on sale for $1.99. The deposit in that case is now $2.40.

Containers with a new 10-cent label may be phased onto shelves through Sept. 30, 2018, but all containers may be redeemed for 10 cents.

Included in the Oregon Bottle Bill are beverage containers 3 liters or smaller for containing, flavored water, soda water, mineral water, carbonated soft drinks and beer and malted beverages.