The newest Bottledrop Redemption Center opens in Eugene today (Tuesday,) touting a cleaner, quicker way for consumers to return bottles and cans. Participating grocery stores within two miles of the new center will no longer be required to accept deposit containers. There are mixed feelings about the change.
BottleDrop is open seven days a week from 9 am to 7pm and it's staffed. The new center offers three ways to return: Hand Counted, Self Serve-Automated machines and EZ Drop pre-labeled bags. The 2,200 square foot indoor facility is located at 2105 West Broadway. It's every bit of two miles from the Safeway on East 18th where John Nyberg is pushing bottles into a reverse vending machine. He reads a sign posted in the recycling room and processes the distance he and others will have to travel.
Nyberg: "Pretty far away… Oh, that's way far away. So there's no way that homeless people that depend on the money can get over there. They're gonna be exhausted by the time they get over there, right? It's ridiculous. The people that have money already, they're throwing the cans away. They don't care. They throw them in garbage and the people who really need the money who are homeless they pull them out of the garbage. And they need somewhere close that they can go."
Nyberg came on his bike and it's overburdened with bags of recyclables. He says this room is often crowded, dirty and often, the machines don't work. Today, one of two of them is broken. But it's the closest place for him to go.
Alisa Shifflett is with Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative. She's manager of the new BottleDrop and says when rolling out any redemption center they consider something called "convenience zones."
Shifflett: "It has to be convenient for the consumers. And if they're used to returning at the place where they shop, it still needed to be easily accessed by all different modes of transportation."
Shifflett says for some, a trip out to BottleDrop will pay off since they will redeem more than double the number of containers retailers will.
Shifflett: "Well it took it from $7.20 in your pocket to $17.50 in your pocket and that's a sizeable chunk."
Oregon was the first state to adopt a bottle bill 43 years ago. According to Shifflett, the goal of BottleDrop is to *increase redemption rates.
Back at the Safeway recycling room, Todd Davis is sweating through four bags of bottles and cans. The place smells pretty bad. He says when it shuts down, he'll go to BottleDrop. Recycling matter to Davis.
Davis: "Well I think it's good for the environment. Yea. Financially no probably not. But environmentally, yea I think it makes a big difference. Keep everything we can out of the landfills."