My foray into the reverse vending machine model

So Oregon is a bottle deposit state. They passed their bill way back in 1971. I just had to see this in action for myself. We took our aluminum cans, plastic bottles and our “few” beer bottles to the local grocery store where they have a little area outside for these reverse vending machines.

This was so exciting! The machines read the UPC label off the container. If it is unacceptable (like a Gatorade plastic bottle) it will reject it and spit it back out. Most of our beer bottles, soda cans and water bottles were approved. Evidently the addition of water bottles to the deposit program is kind-of new.

Then the machine gives you a little ticket for $.05 or whatever amount of material you recycled. With that you go into the store and buy groceries and the refund is taken off your bill at the end like a coupon.

Later on in my vacation, I was reading the February issue of the “American Recycler” newspaper (I know I am a dork, reading this on vacation). There was an article in the paper about Oregon’s program. Evidently its recycling rate in 2004 was about 25 percent. Then the rate increased sharply due to an increase in curbside recycling programs implementing carts instead of bins. Sounds like North Carolina.

On that topic, the people I stayed with had to pay a private company for curbside recycling collection. It isn’t part of their municipal utility program.

In another article from “American Recycler” regarding Albertson’s grocery stores putting in more reverse vending machines in OR and CA, it said that “studies show that consumers who return empties during their shopping visit, purchase up to 52 percent more than other shoppers.” That is quite an incentive for grocery stores!

All in all, I learned a lot about how bottle deposit programs work.

1 comment:

Marketing said...

Hi. I work for an RVM manufacturer in Portland Oregon. Thanks for learning about the container deposit system! There is a lot of information regarding this at www.bottlebill.org. A national bill has been introduced, although it has little chance of surviving, it is a beginning! Also, please visit our website at www.canandbottle.com.
Yes we CAN!
Kelly Casey