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Bill would expand Oregon bottle deposit system

SALEM, Ore. (AP) A proposed expansion of Oregon's bottle deposit system has passed its first big hurdle in the Oregon Legislature.

The House environment committee approved a bottle bill Thursday and sent it to the House with just one member opposed, The Oregonian reported.

The bill would expand the bottle deposit system to include just about any glass, metal or plastic beverage container, except for those that hold milk, wine or liquor. It would also increase the current nickel deposit to a dime if redemption rates fall below 80 percent.

It would also mark a shift from collection at stores to a system that relies largely on off-site redemption centers.

"The bill is one of the most successful recycling devices ever invented, but it's showing signs of age," said state Rep. Ben Cannon, one of the committee's co-chairs and a bill co-sponsor.

Cannon had sought similar changes in 2009 for a system that has remained nearly unchanged since first introduced in 1971.

This time around, the political landscape has changed with the success of two pilot redemption centers that work with retailers to create a central location for container collection. As a result, the Oregon Beer and Wine Distributor Association and the Northwest Grocery Association both threw their support behind the bill.

Given the early success of the redemption centers, return rates are expected to remain high enough to avoid increasing the deposit to a dime. The legislation will also allow the Oregon Liquor Control Commission to launch a pilot project that would try the redemption center model in a larger setting.

"This is the way it's going in the future," said state Rep. Vicki Berger, one of the bill's co-sponsors and the daughter of the man credited with coming up with the bottle bill idea 40 years ago.

The other two major changes are still a ways off. The new containers included under the proposed bill namely, sports drinks, coffee, juice, tea and others wouldn't actually get folded in until January 2018. And the increase from a nickel to a dime couldn't be triggered until after 2021.

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Information from: The Oregonian, http://www.oregonlive.com


Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

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