And your failure is upsetting Oregon Democratics, so they passed a plan four years ago to impose a ten-cent per container deposit; superceding the present five-cent a bottle or can deposit - and they're going to apply it to almost all containers. That bottle of iced tea that used to be deposit-free? No more. Oh, the retailers are gonna love this! The way the Democratics set this up was: if redemption rates fell below 80% for two years, the deposit on containers doubles. Ingenious, isn't it?
"The dime will get the consumer's attention in a big way," said Vicki Berger, a former state representative from Salem and a strong advocate for the bottle bill. "Unfortunately, it will probably cause a backlash against the bottle bill, which I don't want to see."
Berger's father came up with the bottle deposit concept and convinced state lawmakers to adopt it in 1971. It's credited with significantly boosting recycling and reducing litter, and has since been replicated in nine other states, 12 Canadian provinces and more than a dozen countries.
But redemption has fallen precipitously since the 1990s, when nearly all containers were returned for a refund. That's due in part to the growth of curbside recycling and consumer frustration with grocery store redemption rooms.
Well, duh! "I'm billed for curbside recycling whether I use it or not," the thinking goes - so who the heck wants to stand in front of a machine, feeding containers in one at a time? Even better; the machine's guaranteed to malfunction or overload, so the experience is all the more enjoyable. Unsurprisingly then, many people simply chuck the containers into their recycling bins. They may lose the nickel, but it keeps the blood pressure in check.
Democratics shouldn't expect that behavior to change very much, because chucking is far more rewarding to many people than going through the hassle of trying to redeem the containers in order to recover the deposit. Get real: people are just like any other animal, so reward is a powerful motivator; it's why, for example, if a bear happens to break into a homeowner's kitchen and finds food once, it will not only return, but will translate that activity to other kitchens as well.
I, on the other hand, being pure, virtuous, and cheap - containerize cans and bottles into groups of twelve, so that they can be counted at a glance, and drop them off at a local convenience store. This allows me to avoid messing with those stupid machines, and it's easy for the clerks because they don't have to paw through a bag to count the returns. Believe me, they really appreciate that extra step on their behalf.