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Bottle bill battle: Who keeps the nickel?
Photos and Story by Dana Haynes
This one I did not know.
According to Rep. Michael Dembrow’s office (and he’s getting this from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality), whenever we throw away containers that are eligible for the bottle deposit or put them in curbside recycling rather than redeeming them, the 5 cent deposit is retained — not by the state, but by the beverage distributors.
The resulting unclaimed deposits add up to an estimated $20 million to $30 million per year. Unlike residents of other states, Oregonians receive no benefit from these unredeemed deposits.
Consequently (and you knew I was going somewhere with this), Sen. Jackie Dingfelder and Rep. Dembrow have introduced House Bill 3465. If passed, distributors would be required to account for the funds they receive when consumers do not redeem the deposits paid at retail. The legislation also would bring unredeemed money back to the state so that every penny of it is used for public benefit.
I’ll keep an eye on this one.