Responsible recycling, close to home
In the world of recycling, not all things are equal. Oregon’s Bottle Bill protects the quality of recyclable material, and OBRC ensures the material stays in the United States, with most of it processed right here in Oregon.
Keeping It Local
A growing question for policymakers, consumers and environmental advocates centers on what actually happens to the material people return for recycling. Recent national reports have called attention to recyclable material being shipped overseas, with mounting uncertainty regarding the actual recycling outcomes and growing worries about material ending up in landfills or not being disposed of responsibly.
In Oregon, we can be confident that when it comes to beverage containers, our Bottle Bill and OBRC’s stewardship efforts erase these concerns and help ensure that no resource is wasted. All bottles and cans returned through the BottleDrop network are sorted at a BottleDrop Redemption Center or at one of OBRC’s main processing facilities. Customers are credited with their funds, mechanized sortation equipment ensures that the containers are separated by material type, and the materials are compacted and prepared for their next step in the recycling journey.
OBRC has worked tremendously hard to ensure containers returned through Oregon’s system are processed for recycling right here in the United States. All glass returned through Oregon’s Bottle Bill is transported to the Glass to Glass recycling facility in Portland, where it is processed into the raw material to become new glass bottles again. In addition to ensuring high-quality recycling for glass bottles, some of the bottles in Oregon’s system are part of OBRC’s Refillable Bottle program (the only statewide refillable bottle program in the United States), which means that they can be washed and reused more than 25 times before being recycled.
The plastic bottles in Oregon’s system stay close to home as well. OBRC is a co-owner of the ORPET facility in St. Helens, which receives every plastic container returned through OBRC. ORPET is a “wash and flake” facility, meaning that the plastic bottles are chipped into smaller pieces that are then sent through an intricate wash process. The result is Grade-A rPET “flake” which is then further processed into the raw material to become new plastic products, including plastic bottles, again.
ORPET also separates the plastic cap material from plastic bottles during the process, which is chipped and washed just like the PET bottle material. So, keep those plastic caps on the bottles you return, and we’ll make sure they get recycled as well.
Aluminum packaging is also very circular, meaning that it can be recycled back into beverage containers again. OBRC sends its aluminum to domestic smelting facilities located in the Midwest and the South. Aluminum recovered through Oregon’s Bottle Bill is recycled back into sheet aluminum, which is the material used to create new aluminum containers for the beverage industry.
Consumers in Oregon can be confident that the containers they return through OBRC are processed as locally as possible and become high-quality products again. We take our role as responsible material stewards very seriously, ensuring positive environmental outcomes for Oregon and helping provide industry with good access to high-quality materials for the production of new products and packaging. And we’re proud to help support the clean economy in Oregon and across the U.S., helping facilitate great careers in the recycling industry and ensuring that no resource goes to waste.