New Container Redemption Policies

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Note: The text of this story has been updated since its original publish date.

EUGENE, Ore. — If you return containers for money, there are some new rules and guidelines to be aware of.

The changes are affecting some stores within a three-mile radius of the new BottleDrop Center on West Broadway in Eugene that are participating in a pilot project.

The center, which opened last month, gives residents another resource for redeeming a nickel per container.

BottleDrop accepts 350 containers per person per day. If you have 50 containers or less, a staff member will count them for you at the counter and redeem them for cash. The center also offers an option for people to drop off bags of containers for staff to count, and then return later for their redemption money.

State laws that came with the new redemption center, however, are affecting some nearby stores.

Some shoppers find this change inconvenient.

“I can only get 24 cans per day. That’s $1.20 a day,” said Eugene resident Judy Sapon-Borson. “They’ll give you as many tickets as you have cans and bottles for, but then you can’t cash them all in at the same time. So, I have to go back to Market of Choice every day, and sometimes I don’t go to Market of Choice every day.”

According to Oregon’s bottle bill, stores of 5,000 square feet or more can limit a person to 144 containers per day. Stores smaller than that, can limit to 50. But a law that came with the Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative’s BottleDrop pilot project affects some stores near the BottleDrop Center in Eugene.

Any stores within a 1.5 mile radius of the BottleDrop Center that are participating in the pilot program no longer accept bottle returns. Participating stores that are in a 1.5-3 mile radius accept 24 containers per person per day. Non-participating stores larger than 5,000 sq. ft. are now accepting 350 containers per day, according to Cherilyn Bertges of the Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative.

“It makes things harder. It definitely makes things harder. I used to take a very large stash to Market of Choice and plug the machines,” Sapon-Borson said.

Residents say although inconvenient, it’s a law and they’ll have to abide.

“I don’t mind coming here, but it’s harder to have that restriction. I’m adjusting. I’m adjusting. I’m finding a way to make it work,” Sapon-Borson said.

There are still 64 return locations within the three-mile radius from BottleDrop who are not participating. Of these 64 locations, stores smaller than 5,000 sq. ft. will continue to accept 50 containers per person, per day. Stores 5,000 sq. ft. or larger, such as Walmart, will now accept 350 containers per day.

Here is a list of stores in Eugene that no longer accept containers:

  • Fred Meyer at 3333 W 11th Ave.
  • Albertsons at 1675 W 18th Ave.
  • Safeway at 145 E 18th Ave.
  • Bi-Mart at 1680 W 18th Ave.
  • Brun’s Apple at 849 W 6th Ave.
  • The Kiva at 125 W 11th Ave.

Here is a list of stores that accept 24 containers per person per day:

  • Trader Joe’s at 85 Oakway Center
  • Bi-Mart at 4780 Royal Ave.
  • Bi-Mart at 2030 River Rd.
  • Rite Aid at 1970 Echo Hollow Rd.
  • Rite Aid at 57 W 29th Ave.
  • Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage at 201 Coburg Rd.
  • Capella Market at 2489 Willamette St.
  • Safeway at 350 E 40th Ave.
  • Market of Choice – 1060 Green Acres Rd.
  • Market of Choice – 1960 Franklin Blvd.
  • Market of Choice – 67 W 29th Ave.

If you’d like to read more about the Bottle Bill and other laws that pertain to it, click here.


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  1. Miles Terwillegar says:

    This is not right! The state is forcing us to go to great lengths to return bottles and can’s, and yet they allow the grocers to refuse to take more than a few of these returns. Why did the state (as they always do) refuse to let us THE PEOPLE decide this issue? if the grocer’s refuse to accept ALL can’s, and bottle’s then they should be restricted on how many they can sell in a month. Since we as good citizen’s collect these for as long as possible at great pain (have you been to one of these smelly nasty return site’s?) before returning them ( since they smell, and attract unwanted pest’s). Now they want us to go to even MORE expense, and effort’s to return THEIR product’s that we already paid a deposit on, and have to use our time, and gas to return to a Station that is out of our area, or return to their store EVERY DAY in order to get rid of these UNWANTED returns. The original law should stand making the grocers take ALL returns at ANY quantity!.

  2. Cherie Broadbent says:

    This does NOT encourage people to recycle! Especially if you live a ways away and only come to town every couple weeks.

  3. maicaw says:

    That’s ridiculous – Budweiser comes in 36 can pack – so does coke and pepsi not to mention those huge packs of bottled water

  4. Helen says:

    ALSO: the 2011 bill eventually expands the types of containers eligible for a refund to include juices, teas, coffees and sports drinks and any other beverage intended for human consumption except distilled liquor, wine, dairy and infant formula. OLCC may also exempt other beverages by rule. These added beverages will become refund-eligible on Jan. 1, 2018 or one year after OLCC determines that at least 60 percent of beverage containers are returned to redemption centers (instead of stores), whichever comes first…………..http://www.deq.state.or.us/lq/sw/bottlebill/
    a large amount of beverage producers/bottlers to comply with this portion of “The Bottle Bill” have already started to print 5cent OR deposits on their products… Brisk and Two Towns Cider have already started to print this on cans. the issue is that retailers are charging the deposits because the products say so…. but the state with not take the bottles(cider, tea, juice, etc) back for deposit
    there are a lot of flaws to this 2011 Bottle Bill!

    1. Nan says:

      I have to agree with everything you said concerning the stores already charging us deposit for bottles that we can’t return. It is BS that they get away with this. I am a disabled single parent living on a fixed income and paying all these deposits even on my water and tea (which is what we mainly drink) eats into my extremely limited grocery money. Its bad enough the cost of food has skyrocketed but paying the deposit on items we can’t redeem is a bunch of crap. They need to make adjustments to this bill or force the stores to stop charging the deposits on the items we can’t return.

      As far as going tot he bottle Drop center, I was completely surprised that it was a much better experience than I expected. It was much cleaner than any of the stores keep their bottle return areas and the staff was friendly. My only issue was how far away it is from my home and I don’t drive, so i have to find someone to take me all the way downtown.

      As much as I am glad we live in a state that cares about recycling and has a plan in place to do it, the plan is flawed and they really need to fix the flaws before expecting everyone to just fall in line.

  5. Terri says:

    24 cans per day! What a stupid idea. Terribly inconvenient. I think that it will lead some to just throw their cans and bottles in the trash or recycling. What a hassle.

  6. Justin Milbrett says:

    OK if the consumer can only receive deposit on 24 cans a day. How is it the stores are able to charge on all the deposits? If I buy a 30 pack of beer at one time, shouldn’t I be able to return them together?

  7. Don says:

    Is this intended to make people stop recycling? Because that is the effect it is going to have! It will cost more in time and gas for most people than they will get back from their effort.

    And then, the area retailers that choose to help their local customers will be penalized if they don’t follow the new rules? What a crock!

    Is the “Bottle Drop Center” making the profit from this and taking it away from the local stores?

  8. Teri Weaver says:

    I think if we can only return 24 containers a day then the store should only be able to charge us a deposit on the first 24 containers we buy. I think this is going to encourage people to simply throw their cans and bottels in the trash or out the car window.

  9. Ben B says:

    Oh don’t be fooled. This has very little to do with recycling and everything to do with muscling out homeless people. Making them go to recycling centers instead of grocery stores is someones fascist views on society being in a place of law making power and flexing it. What we are seeing here is not an inconvenience of access to recycling, but a sweeping of homeless persons under the proverbial rug of injustice. If the Oregon government does not practice compassion in its laws they should do well not to expect it come time for public votes of office.

  10. Natasha says:

    All this does is make me want to throw them away instead even though I have been returning my bottles and cans my entire life. Not everyone has access to a recycle bin where they live and even if I did I pay the deposit on every drink I buy and feel like I shouldn’t have to if there is no bottle return. I am an avid PEPSI drinker who works at least 1 full-time job and usually a 2nd, there is no way I am taking the very little time I have off work to go return them as often as I would need to.

  11. Natasha says:

    On top of what I already said ~ it just so happens that EVERY store on “list of stores in Eugene that no longer accept containers” are all of the stores in my neighborhood.

  12. Bradley says:

    Wow. While I can understand the theory of encouraging people to use & support a redemption center, it doesn’t sit well with citizens. It makes those businesses who are participating in the pilot project look bad. Change isn’t easy, but I’m afraid this very well might impact recycling. I would have thought it better to introduce an incentive in using the redemption center over area stores.

    At this point I would say, “Don’t open a redemption center in Springfield.”

  13. Drew says:

    I’ll drive an extra 5 minutes to go to a store outside this zone to return my cans. If you want me to go to extra effort to return cans to your store then you don’t want me at your store. It’s not just the law that has a say in this. Businesses don’t have to participate. If this doesn’t change you won’t see me returning cans to any of the stores on this list, instead I’d rather drive a little bit farther and do my returning/shopping somewhere else like Winco, Walmart or Target.

  14. M.C. says:

    Hmmm, possibly any store that doesn’t accept bottles/cans should have to put mandatory labeled bins outside for recycling if they don’t take them back for deposit, then at least the people that Need the deposit $ could pick up and take to main return area and people wouldn’t throw away their bottles/cans. Also, any particular cause could sponsor the collection containers outside of stores that don’t have them, and have proceeds go to mission/safe place etc

  15. Cindy says:

    I went to BottleDrop today, although it was a little out of my way, I will go again. No broken machines, no sorting through cans and bottles, no sticky gross floors, no having to wait for a machine or wait for the store clerk to come out and empty the full bids. I was in and out in 10 minutes, normally it would have taken me an hour. Everyone should just try it……at least once.

  16. Jeff says:

    This is about the dumbest thing this hippy place has done!! I thought they wanted people to recycle here!? I just returned my usual commercial size bag of cans and bottles toWal-Mart on West 11th but was told I could only redeem $1.20 for the day. I could come back everyday and redeem $1.20. The way I look at it is, either way they were going to refund me my roughly $18, but at $1.20 at a time. I think not. I’ll spend more money in fuel than the $1.20 I’ll get back. So I just threw them away. And for now on my cans will be going into my garbage can. I’m not going to go further out of my way to redeem my nickels. I drink a lot of beer too, so they may wanna find a new land fill soon!!, because here come my empties.

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