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Recycling – Behind the Scenes: Redeemable Bottle & Can Recycling

April 25th, 2013

What is the Oregon Bottle Bill?

Enacted in 1971, the Oregon Bottle Bill was the nation’s first legislated container deposit system. It created a five cent refundable deposit on containers, and was aimed at reducing litter and increasing recycling.

What is accepted under the bill: 

images of example redeemable containersMetal, plastic, or glass containers that are 3 liters or less in size, including these types of beverages:

  • Beer/malt beverage
  • Carbonated mineral water/ soda water
  • Carbonated soft drink
  • Water and flavored water
  • Some carbonated sports drinks and juices

How it is processed:

Campus Recycling employees separate redeemable cans and bottles from other containers on a sorting line at the Motor Pool (see how in the video below).  Redeemable metal cans and plastic bottles are placed into different bags.  Redeemable glass bottles are not sorted out for redemption (see what happens to them in our post about glass).  The bags of redeemables are picked up by and taken to one of Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative’s (OBRC) five recycling plants for processing.

Once at the facility, the containers are placed onto automatic sorting lines or mechanized counting devices depending on type.  The aluminum containers are crushed, baled, and prepared for transportation to aluminum recycling smelters to be made into new beverage cans.  The plastic bottles are perforated, crushed, baled, and transported to recyclers who make polyester fiber for carpet, filler and clothing.  Some of the plastic goes to a bottle-to-bottle facility to be made into new plastic bottles.

Recycled products:

  • New aluminum beverage cans
  • New plastic bottles
  • Polyester carpet fiber
  • Filler for insulated clothing and bedding
  • Clothing
what redeemable containers are made into

Click to view larger.

Learn more about how to recycle these materials by reading our Tips of the Week on Metal and Plastic Recycling.

This post is part of our “Behind the Scenes” blog series, which details what happens to OSU’s recycling after you place it in a recycle bin. Tune in every week to learn more.

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