Bottle bill expansion

The majority of beverages sold in 4-ounce to 1.5-liter glass, metal or plastic containers will be included in the expanded list of items that have a 10-cent container refund value.

Already subject to deposit/refund (up to 3 liter size):

Soda

Beer

Water

Added as of Jan. 1 (up to 1.5 liter size):

Coffee

Tea

Fruit juice (except for lime and lemon juice)

Vegetable juice

Energy drinks

Sports drinks

Kombucha

Marijuana beverages

Hard Cider (if 8.5 percent alcohol or less)

Juice smoothies

Cocktail mixers

Muscle milk

Protein shakes (unless marketed as meal replacement)

Ready-to-use mixers, smoothie mixers

Still not included:

Wine

Distilled spirits (vodka, gin, whiskey, etc.)

Milk (dairy and plant-based)

Infant formula

Meal replacement drinks

For more information, go to http://www.oregon.gov/OLCC/docs/bottle_bill/ bottle_bill_faqs.pdf

SALEM — A 12-pack of kombucha cans will cost $1.20 more on Monday as the popular drink joins the list of beverages whose containers are subject to Oregon’s landmark Beverage Container Act. The changes mark the latest version of Oregon’s first-in-the-nation “bottle bill,” enacted in 1971.

The law requires consumers to pay a 10-cent deposit when they purchase canned and bottled beverages, then they can redeem the empty containers for cash. The law was amended in 2011 to include, starting in 2018, nearly all glass, metal and plastic beverage containers except those holding wine, liquor, milks, infant formula and meal replacement beverages.

The effective date: Jan. 1. That’s Monday.

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission, which is in charge of the law, has posted information on its website trying to simplify the explanation of the expanded list:

“Rule of Thumb: Generally, if you can pour it and drink it, it’s covered unless … .”

It’s the “generally” and “unless” where things get complicated.

Start out with what is in: Bottled or canned sodas, beer and water.

As of Monday, add coffee, tea, juices, kombucha, marijuana drinks, sports drinks like Gatorade and a host of other liquids.

Maybe it’s easier to recap what isn’t in.

Wine, for one. The legislature considered a plan to redeem wine bottles for 25 cents each. The bill went into the capitol’s trash can in Salem.

Also out: Distilled spirits (vodka, gin, whiskey, etc.).

Milk (dairy and plant-based like soy and coconut), formula for infants and meal replacement liquids are also exempted.

OK, but, wait for the asterisks:

Hard cider is in unless it has an alcoholic content above 8.5 percent, then it is out.

Protein shakes are in, unless they are marketed as meal replacement items, then they are out.

Containers smaller than 4 ounces or bigger than 1.5 liters are out.

Unless they are soda, beer or water, in which case you can go up to 3 liters and be in.

Do the math, and you’ll know a 48-ounce plastic bottle of GT’s Synergy Organic Kombucha Trilogy is good for that dime. But that 59 ml AriZona Grape Aid Energy Shot doesn’t qualify for the deposit.

Why not just look for the deposit information on the side of the container? No, the commission says don’t do that. Items on the “in” list purchased in Oregon can be redeemed regardless of whether they have a deposit amount listed. And those that say they are worth 5 cents are worth 10 cents, never mind what it says on the container. All qualifying containers are worth 10 cents as of April.

Manufacturers have until Oct. 1 to get the right redemption amount marked on soda, beer and water containers. They have until Jan. 1, 2019 to have the 10-cent refund value on containers added on Monday.

So, there you go.

Except water bottles given away in specialized containers — like those given away at hotels or other companies — are not eligible.

And no containers sold out of state have to be accepted.

“A retailer or redemption center may refuse to accept any container if staff have reasonable grounds to believe the beverage was not purchased in Oregon,” says the OLCC on its website. “For some locations along the border with other states, staff may request receipts as proof that the beverages were purchased in Oregon.”

Of course, you can dispose of containers with your curbside pick-up. But know there’s annually about $30 million in unredeemed containers that have gone missing in Oregon, according to a report in Willamette Week.

Most likely end up in recycle bins or the trash. But regardless, beverage distributors get to keep that windfall.

— Reporter: 541-525-5280, gwarner@bendbulletin.com

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