Oregon governor passes bill revamping state's bottle deposit system

In an effort to create a more comprehensive bottle return policy for the state of Oregon, Governor John Kitzhaber recently signed into law a revamped "bottle bill" that transforms the current recycling policy. According to KGW.com, the new bill will allow a deposit for an expanded range of soda and water bottles to encourage Oregon residents to recycle all of their used containers.

The bill had some huge grassroots support from two Hood River High School seniors, Alix Melton and Ali Danko. The two collected old bottles and containers from the Hood River area over the span of two years and sorted through nearly 220,000 bottles and cans. The result of their labor was about $11,000 for local charities, and they knew it would have been so much more if they could receive a deposit for the water bottles as well.

"A lot of people are really confused about what they can recycle and what they can redeem," Ali Danko explained to the news source. "And so I think this bill will just help raise awareness and increase the recycling."

Plastic bottles in particular have become a burden for the recycling community. According to Earth911.com, only 28 percent of plastic bottles were recycled during 2009 due to the lack of deposits and people simply not re-using the bottles. Individuals can go a long way to reducing their carbon footprints by buying a plastic water bottle to carry around with them, or to simply reuse old bottles to keep them out of landfills.

The Oregon "bottle bill" is a huge step forward for the recycling community, and hopefully other states will embrace the idea of offering a deposit on more containers. This will keep excess plastic out of landfills and help to create a greener environment.