Over the past 50 years, Oregon’s Bottle Bill has evolved with the times. Originally just applying to beer and soda containers, it now includes a wide range of beverages in many different container types, and the redemption value has increased from 5 cents to 10 cents.
In the early decades, all Bottle Bill container returns were conducted through hand-counts at retail grocery stores, and individual distributors of beverage products were responsible for transporting and processing their materials once they were returned to the stores. Over time, distributors formed local and regional cooperatives to efficiently facilitate their stewardship role within the Bottle Bill. In 2009, those regional cooperatives formed into a single statewide cooperative, the Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative (OBRC), paving the way for new access options and innovative programs, including the introduction of BottleDrop Redemption Centers and the option of bulk recycling through the Green Bag program. Today, OBRC handles 98% of container returns in Oregon, and over 75% of those returns are conducted through the BottleDrop network.
OBRC is a private, not-for-profit cooperative working as the industry steward to transport, count, process and recycle nearly two billion containers each year. OBRC uses no public funding to fulfill the mission of the Bottle Bill. This model has solidified Oregon’s reputation as a national leader, with 80-90% of redeemable beverage containers sold in Oregon being returned and recycled each year, and OBRC continues to innovate and expand redemption options while also increasing the ways it benefits Oregon and the people who live here.