Starting on January 1, 2009, Oregon will place water bottles on deposit. The 36-year-old bottle-deposit bill will also be expanded to include and flavored-water bottles. The deposit is five cents.
Oregon is the first state to expand its bottle-deposit law to include water bottles since California in 2000. The Oregon bill covers containers up to three litres. It will also would create a nine-person task force to study whether to add more drink containers to the bill and to study and report back to the Legislature by November 1, 2008 on the feasibility of setting up state-run redemption centers.
The Oregon bill should increase plastic recycling and return more PET to the recycling stream. Its expected to almost double the amount of water bottles recycled annually in Oregon to 115 million and reduce the number of water bottles landfilled from 126 million to 70 million, based on 2005 data. The state DEQ anticipates the recycling rate for water bottles will increase to 62 percent from 32 percent after the bill goes into effect. The recycling rate for PET soft drink containers in Oregon is 82 percent.
Although it was recently killed, a comprehensive measure in Connecticut that would double that states deposit fee to 10 cents and add water, sports, teas and juices bottles is expected to resurface as an amendment to an existing bill. The pending Connecticut bill would cover all glass, aluminum and PET containers under 20 ounces with exemptions for dairy, soy and ales.
States are targeting water bottles because the number of such bottles sold in the U.S. has grown nine-fold since 1997 and doubled since 2002 to 29.8 billion, according to data from the Container Recycling Institute in Washington. Eleven states currently have bottle-deposit bills for soft drinks, but only California, Maine and Hawaii include water bottles.