An Oregon panel considering changes to the state's bottle deposit law is preparing to offer a package of proposals to boost plastics recycling.
The eight-member Oregon Bottle Bill Task Force plans to recommend that:
* Deposits be expanded from soft drinks and water to all beverages except for milk and milk substitutes.
* That deposits be raised from a nickel to a dime.
* That the state shift from at-store returns to 90 large redemption centers built by grocery stores and distributors.
The task force, which is scheduled to present its recommendations to legislators Oct. 17, discussed its suggestions at a solid waste forum meeting at the headquarters of the Department of Environmental Quality in Portland on Oct. 8.
Business representatives opposed some of the recommendations, while recycling proponents were concerned about others. That could lead to a contentious legislative battle in 2009. Business representatives said they want the report to show how each task force member voted on each point, so legislators know that grocers and others do not support some of ideas.
``If it looks like there isn't broad- based support, it will be easy for industry to argue, `Let's not do anything in 2009 and revisit the issue in 2011,''' said Robert Danko, director of the solid waste division of the DEQ, who is not a task force member.
Among other things, business representatives opposed the higher deposit and the inclusion of wine and liquors in the proposal. They also want to wait and see whether to add more beverages until there is more understanding of how adding water bottles for redemption will affect returns and collections.
Adding deposits on water bottles is expected to almost double the amount of water bottles recycled annually in Oregon to 115 million and to increase the water-bottle recycling rate to 62 percent from 32 percent, according to DEQ.
The task force was created when Oregon legislators expanded the state's bottle bill in May 2007 to make water and flavored water beverages subject to deposits beginning Jan. 1, 2009. The original bill, in effect since 1972, only applies to soft drinks.
The task force is also expected to recommend:
* That the Legislature set an 80 percent beverage container return rate for industry to meet by 2015.
* That the Oregon Liquor Control Commission be given oversight authority over industry-run redemption centers.
* That large stores be able to opt out of handling returns if there is a nearby redemption center.
* That redemption centers be able to use the money from unredeemed deposits to run and manage the redemption centers.