A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

The Bottle Bill at the time of Covid-19

Written September 4th, 2020 by Hasso Hering

Inside the Albany Bottle Drop on Aug. 31 (just before the attendant asked me not to take pictures there).

The covid catastrophe has made many things in Albany more complicated, and that includes the operation of the state’s system of bottle deposits and returns.

The Bottle Drop in Albany is a busy place, and we’re supposed to avoid crowded indoor spaces as much as we can. So you want to collect your returns in those green plastic bags that you can shove into a little door from outside.

But last week, I couldn’t buy more than 10 bags at time. Apparently there’s a supply shortage connected with the pandemic. That means more frequent visits to the service counter inside, not ideal.

Because of covid, during busy times people who want to feed their empties into the redemption machines sometimes have to wait in line outside, six feet apart. This may have been a mere nuisance in the spring, but it’s a pain during hot summer days, or when the rain this coming winter gets whipped sideways by the wind.

As a convenience, you can cash in your accumulated deposits at participating stores. But in recent days, at two separate Albany supermarkets the in-store redemption centers were out of order. Covid did not cause this directly, but my guess is that the pandemic has everybody doing extra work, leaving less time for routine maintenance or repairs.

Albany, a trading center for maybe 70,000 or 80,000 people, still has only one Bottle Drop. The times I’ve been there, the few employees are being run ragged taking care of the crowd and keeping the place clean. The Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative, which runs these places around the state, ought to think of opening a second one.

We’ve had the Bottle Bill for nearly 50 years. It’s done a good job keeping our roadsides mostly clear of disposable bottles and cans. It has worked not because of the nickel deposit, now 10 cents, but because Oregonians by and large have willingly gone to the extra trouble to make it work.

During the pandemic, that little extra effort is not always quite so little any more. (hh)

Outside the Albany Bottle Drop, one day in May 2020.


A Bottle Drop notice at Albany Fred Meyer on Sept. 3.




9 responses to “The Bottle Bill at the time of Covid-19”

  1. Al Nyman says:

    According to the Pepsi delivery guy at Fred Meyer, there is a shortage of cans because of the virus and we are now buying liter bottles.

  2. James Engel says:

    Hey H. H., the bottle drop site sure bets waiting outside of the Fred Meyer location!! We get bags from the Safe Haven Animal Society out on old Hwy 34. Fill’im up, take’im in, drop’em off. They are already labeled with a scanner label so no need to wait to be counted. I believe the “Bottle Law” has greatly cleaned up our roadsides! Besides. the homeless have something else to do.

    • Lundy says:

      I just picked up a bunch of SafeHaven bags also, and an added benefit is you can drop the filled bags off at the shelter.

  3. Bill Kapaun says:

    Remember the old days when there was an employee readily available to help and the floors weren’t sticky?

  4. Martha Flora says:

    The tariff on aluminum imposed in 2018 probably affects the supply of cans also

    • Bill Kapaun says:

      They were rescinded against Canada & Mexico a year later.
      Increased recycling of beer/pop cans should supply more aluminum each year.
      I think increased demand due to population growth is the bigger culprit. Some by illegals.

  5. Craig says:

    One thought would be to INCREASE the hours of operation at the current location. Instead of the current 8am to 7pm. Maybe 6am to 10pm would help the bottleneck at the BottleDrop.

    • Bill Kapaun says:

      Maybe a modification of that. I’m not sure how many more would use it opening at 6 AM, but maybe extend the hours during daylight time.
      The premise being DST = hotterer weather = more beverage consumption.
      Maybe 6 AM on Sat. when people tend to clean out their garages?

      Also limiting the “100 canners” to 2 bags a day and some limited number per quarter doesn’t make sense.
      I have a friend whose Cub Scouts collect to generate revenue. He had to get a 2nd account because of the quarterly limit. That’s just inefficient and a pain to keep track of 2 accounts vs 1. Add the additional gasoline & parking lot congestion because of the added trips.

  6. Rod Porsche says:

    If folks have cans piling up and don’t want to wait in long lines at the BottleDrop, Albany Habitat for Humanity would be happy to accept your bottles and cans! We have blue bags that are already labeled to go directly to our BottleDrop account. Funds raised go directly to help those in need of affordable housing right here in Albany. You can pick up the blue bags at our affiliate office (315 Lyon next to Albany Visitors Welcome Center in Downtown Albany) or at our ReStore: 1225 6th Ave. SE. Simply drop off the full bags at either the BottleDrop (with no waiting in line), our ReStore or office. A win-win! Call Rod at 541-967-4030 if you have questions for need bags.


HH Today: A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley
Albany Albany Carousel Albany City Council Albany council Albany downtown Albany Fire Department Albany housing Albany parks Albany Planning Commission Albany police Albany Post Office Albany Public Works Albany riverfront Albany Station Albany streets Albany traffic Albany urban renewal Andy Olson Benton County Benton County parks bicycling bike lanes Bowman Park Bryant Park Calapooia River CARA City of Albany climate change coronavirus COVID-19 Cox Creek path Crocker Lane cumberland church cycling Dave Clark Path Daylight saving time downtown Albany Edgewater Village global warming gun control Highway 20 Interstate 5 Kitzhaber Linn County marijuana medical marijuana Millersburg North Albany Road Obama ODOT Oregon coast Oregon legislature Oregon passenger rail Pacific Power Portland & Western Republic Services Riverside Drive Santiam Canal Talking Water Gardens The Banks Tom Cordier Union Pacific urban renewal Water Avenue Willamette River

Copyright 2020. All Rights Reserved. Hasso Hering.
Website Serviced by Santiam Communications
Hasso Hering