New bottle deposits coming

Just wondering why in Oregon there is a deposit fee on water, beer, soda containers, etc., but not on things such as bottled tea, Snapple and coffee. Other states have deposit fees across the board on these containers.

— L. Castle, via email

It's true, L., there is no deposit on tea, coffee and juice drinks in Oregon — yet. But their day will come.

Before 2011, the Oregon Bottle Bill applied only to beer and soda containers. Although it was the first of its kind in the country when it was passed in 1971, it had become less effective because of the flood of containers of other liquids, especially water bottles.

So the 2011 Legislature addressed that shortcoming. However, fearful of overwhelming the system, lawmakers decided to phase in some of the other containers.

The new system also includes redemption centers to handle the increased flow of bottles and cans, but so far those centers are limited to the Portland metro area. That's important because the revised bottle bill stipulates that once the redemption centers handle 60 percent of the current containers, a one-year deadline would be set to begin imposing the deposit fee on recyclable containers for sports and energy drinks, juices, teas and coffee.

The additional containers would be added to the deposit list by 2018.

The law also stipulates that if redemption rates for any of the containers fall below 80 percent for two consecutive years after 2016, the deposit would increase to a dime from the current 5 cents.

Containers of several drinks still are not included in the law, including dairy, baby formula, liquor and wine.

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