Governor Brown’s “stay home, save lives” executive order, in effect since March 23, does not mention Oregon Bottle Bill redemption centers. Lots of people may see the general coronavirus shutdown as a good time to gather up all those empties and turn them in.
That’s the way it looked Monday at the Albany Bottle Drop, where people with sacks of empties were lining up outside, waiting to get in so they could feed their bottles and cans into the self-serve machines one by one.
Others meanwhile were returning containers the easy way, dropping off their “green bags” of empties to have them counted later and credited to their accounts. But that requires establishing an account and getting the bags and labels ahead of time, and there’s a small fee.
The Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative, which operates the Bottle Drop in Albany and many others elsewhere, said it was allowing only 25 people inside its redemption centers at one time in order to allow “social distancing.” Maybe that, along with sanitizing the machines after each use, accounted for the line outside the Albany center.
The cooperative updated its COVID-19 message to customers on Monday. You can read it here.
Even without the extra measures taken to prevent spreading the virus, the Albany Bottle Drop is almost always busy. A community this size needs more than one.
One of these years, the legislature may realize that the advent of near-universal curbside recycling has made the 1971 Bottle Bill, which took effect in 1972, obsolete. All the bottles and cans being returned for their deposit, now 10 cents each, end up as commodities to be reused the same as they would if they were tossed in the recycling bin.
Without the Bottle Bill, recycling the empties would let consumers avoid both the deposit and the wait. (hh)