Bottle Drop deposit return to replace grocery store can centers

EUGENE, Ore. -- The process of returning bottles and cans is changing for Eugene residents as the city will soon get a new bottle drop recycling center in late June.

The center is designed to cut down on the hassle of sorting and cleaning beer, soda and water containers for the 5 cent deposit.

"It takes a lot of time out of our day, when people come with bottles," said Kiva Store employee Kenn Glenn, "lots of bottles, lots of work. And it's going away."

The center on West Broadway will be the Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative's 8th location. The fairly new cooperative program specializes in collecting, sorting and recycling containers for deposit. The center will replace the bottle return centers at stores in the nearby area.

"The public can revisit the redemption center and bring up to 350 beverage containers back to redeem," said Alisa Shifflett, project manager for the Bottle Drop center.

The state currently has a 72 percent return rate for all bottles and cans sold. When the program started in 1971, Oregon's rate was closer to 90 percent.

"We certainly hope to increase the awareness and change the perspective of recycling so that people want to redeem those containers," Shifflett said.

Major chains and independent grocers taking part in the program pay fees to the OBRC. In exchange those stores are no longer obligated to participate in the return program.