Oregon Senate backs bottle bill expansion

SALEM, Ore. (AP) - Plastic water bottles would be added to Oregon's bottle bill, the only change to it since it became the first of its kind in the nation in 1971, under a bill that was approved Monday by the Oregon Senate.

Backers of the measure, which was sent to the House on a 23-7 vote, say times and tastes have changed since Oregon first placed a nickel deposit on beer and soda pop bottle and cans.

The measure would add plastic bottles of water and flavored water to the list of drink containers requiring a nickel deposit.

Some recycling advocates had hoped to expand Oregon's bottle law even further with wine and liquor bottles plus juice and sports drinks containers.

But proponents of the bill call it a significant step. They noted that last year, Oregonians threw away more than 128 million recyclable water bottles.

The measure passed despite opposition from some Republican senators who said grocers shouldn't be forced to accept an expansion that brings more empties into their stores, creating potential health problems caused by unsanitary containers.

The bill sets up a task force to study whether the state should create redemption centers where beverage containers could be taken, and whether the nickel deposit should be increased to a dime to encourage more recycling of containers.

The bill is SB707.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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