The Oregon Liquor Control Commission is temporarily removing certain dairy and plant-based containers from the Bottle Bill system until a workable solution can be worked out for handling these products. 

The OLCC held a special meeting Jan. 30, when it rescinded a month-old expansion rule adding certain dairy-product containers to those covered by the Bottle Bill. Specifically, the rule covered containers for drinks like flavored milk, lactose-free milk, buttermilk, kefir and drinkable yogurt. Willamette Week first reported the agency’s reversal.

According to an OLCC news release, temporarily removing these containers will give the industry time to come up with methods of accepting these empties. 

Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative’s Jules Bailey said the problems with returned dairy-based beverage containers involve health and safety concerns.

“Especially when you’re dealing with pasty substances like yogurt and those sorts of things, when they go into those reverse vending machines they can get in the gears, they can get all over the insides and the guts of it (and) create spoilage,” Bailey said. 

Under Oregon’s Bottle Bill, consumers pay a 10-cent deposit when they buy certain beverage containers. Stores and distributors are required to accept the empties and return the 10-cent deposit per container.

Last year, all hard seltzers and kombuchas were included in the Bottle Bill, which originally applied only to soda pop and beer containers.