New account signups, green bags and stickers to be available at Ashland grocery market
By Debora Gordon for Ashland.news
Got a few recyclable bottles and cans around the house? Maybe you’ve dropping them in the blue recycling bin at your home, redeemed them for 10 cents apiece at a local grocery store, or dropping them off at the Ashland Recycling Center to benefit local nonprofits. Your options have now expanded to include dropping off green or blue “Bottledrop” bags at Shop’n Kart and getting your account credited.
A ceremonial ribbon cutting Monday, Sept. 26, at Shop’n Kart, 2268 Ashland St., marked the opening of new Bottledrop Express location where account holders can drop off bags. Until Monday, the closest location was about 12 miles away at the Fred Meyer on the south side of Medford.
Those turning out to mark the occasion included Oregon Rep. Pam Marsh; Eric Chambers of Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative (OBRC), which manages the BottleDrop program; Eddie Wallace of On Track Rogue Valley; five members of the Soroptimist International of Ashland; and Brendan O’Neill of Archangel Gabriel Orthodox Church of Ashland, most of whom brought car loads of blue bags ready to be recycled and credited to their nonprofit organizations’ accounts.
It’s more than bottles and cans that are recycled. Chambers noted that although the green (which are for individuals) and blue bags (for nonprofit causes) are plastic, the bags are periodically baled up and sent back to the bag manufacturer to be reconstituted and reused — up to 12 million per year.
He added, “The amazing thing about Oregon’s bottle bill is that nearly everybody does it, regardless of income level, political party. We do regular public opinion research, and a January poll showed that 94% of Oregonians were familiar with the system and 97% say it’s good for Oregon.”
While BottleDrop redemption machines have been at Shop’n Kart for a long time, those required inserting containers one at a time up to a daily limit, then taking a voucher into the store for redemption. What is new is a door that can be opened with a BottleDrop card that can be obtained online which opens the door and allows the dropping off entire bags of bottles and cans. BottleDrop account holders purchase designated bags for a small fee, and print bag tag stickers with QR codes to place on the bags so their accounts can be credited.
The stickers linking their bags to their accounts can be obtained at store kiosks located on site at all bag drop locations. Customers then fill the bags with redeemable bottles and cans and drop them off at any BottleDrop location statewide. BottleDrop will count the containers and credit the account within seven days, with the following options:
- Redeem for cash at the Ashland Shop’n Kart,
- Get an extra 20% by using their funds to shop with store credit at participating retailers through the BottleDrop Plus program (not currently available at Shop’n Kart);
- Save for education by linking their BottleDrop Account with an Oregon College Savings Plan Account; or,
- Donate to a charity of their choice through BottleDrop Give.
Chambers also mentioned that, although Oregon has a tenth of the population of California, it probably has 10 times the number of places to recycle. “Within 10 miles of this site, there are over $330,000 being redeemed through the green and blue bags. Oregon’s program is unique; no one is doing anything like this. Our members are beverage distributors. Their responsibility is to come and pick up empty containers from stores. Our members are asking us to help advance policy in Washington state, so they can have that be part of their stewardship efforts.”
Chambers said, “Readers of this story will now know about the green bag program and they will be over the moon to know that they can drop bags in Ashland.”
There are some 4,500 BottleDrop account holders in the Ashland area, according to OBRC. They collectively dropped off nearly 50,000 bags in the past year, claiming more than $355,000 in refunds of the 10-cent deposit paid on beverage containers when purchased.
Debora Gordon is a writer, artist, educator and non-violence activist who recently moved to Ashland from Oakland, California. Email Ashland.news Executive Editor Bert Etling at email@example.com or call or text him at 541-631-1313.