Now Playing:


Think Out Loud

Message in a Bottle

Pete Springer/OPB

What will changes to an historic Oregon law mean for recycling statewide?

Oregon’s 1971 bottle bill helped put the Beaver State on the map as an innovator. Oregon became the first state in the nation to have a deposit/redemption system for cans and bottles — a program that gets credit for high rates of recycling as well as a reduction in litter.

Now eleven other states have similar laws and Oregon’s is no longer considered cutting edge. California exchanges nickels and dimes for water bottles, something Oregon won’t begin to do until 2009. Governor Kulongoski’s Bottle Bill Task Force is poised to continue the makeover. Task force chair John Kopetski will present a slew of recommendations for changes to the law at a meeting Friday. Setting up redemption centers to reduce grocery store returns and adding a quarter deposit to wine and liquor bottles are among the suggestions.

Do bottle and can deposits motivate you to recycle? If not, what does? Do you live in rural Oregon? What does recycling look like in your community? What changes to the existing law would you like to see? How will those changes affect you directly?


  • Jerry Powell: Editor and publisher of Resource Recycling Magazine
  • John Kopetski: Chair of the Bottle Bill Task Force and a financial advisor in Pendleton
  • Joe Gilliam: President of the Northwest Grocery Association
  • Bridgett Luther: Director of the California Department of Conservation

Photo credit: Philipp Daun / Flickr / Creative Commons

bottle bill recycling

More Think Out Loud

More OPB

Join the Conversation

Send Think Out Loud A Message