Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber signs bill to apply state's bottle deposit system to nearly every glass, metal or plastic beverage container; law also expands centralized redemption centers to raise collection rate back above 80%

SALEM, Massachusetts , June 13, 2011 () – Gov. John Kitzhaber signed a bill Thursday revamping Oregon’s bottle deposit system, making the system apply to nearly every glass, metal or plastic beverage container.

Oregon’s so-called bottle bill is credited with significantly boosting recycling in Oregon and in the nine other states that eventually adopted variations.

But proponents said it was time to modernize the 40-year-old law, which requires a deposit for plastic water and soda bottles but not for nearly identical iced tea bottles.

The change could also result in a hike of the deposit, from a nickel to a dime, if redemption falls below 80 percent for two consecutive years. It’s currently just below that level.

“By making more of these containers eligible for redemption, we’re going to have a significant impact not just on our roadways and in our landfills but also increase our recycling rate,” Kitzhaber said before signing the bill in his ceremonial office at the state Capitol.

The new law expands an experiment with centralized redemption centers, which allow people to redeem bottles in specialized locations instead of at the local grocery store. Proponents say the centralized centers make redemption more convenient and will help ensure the collection rate rises back above 80 percent.

“The bottle bill is really about more than recycling,” said Rep. Ben Cannon, D-Portland, a chief sponsor of the measure. “It’s about the culture of Oregon. It’s about who we are as Oregonians. It’s about the ethos we pass on to our children.”

Opponents in the Legislature said they supported most of the bill but objected to the possible increase in the deposit amount.

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