Choices that Created the Oregon Mystique: Governor Tom McCall's Foresight and Accomplishments

Bottle Bill

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As originally conceived by an Oregon resident named Richard Chambers, who was fed up with the littering of Oregon's wild areas, the Oregon Bottle Bill began as an outright ban on nonreturnable bottles and cans used for soft drinks and malt beverages. When it appeared doomed in the 1969 legislature, it was modified to require a refundable deposit on such containers, but McCall, feeling the time was not right, did not throw his support behind it though he strongly supported the concept. In 1971, a revised version faced opposition from a beverage lobby the likes of which Oregon had not seen before. State legislators, offended by the lobbyists' condescending attitude and offers of bribe money, and buoyed by increased public interest in environmental issues, passed HB 1036, and McCall signed it into law on July 2, 1971.

Oregon Bottle Bill original text

This article appeared in the Salem, Oregon, afternoon newspaper soon after the passage of the Bottle Bill.

The Oregon Statesman newspaper published this editorial the day before the Bottle Bill took effect.
This Oregon Historical Society "Oregon History Project" webpage includes a summary of the development of the Bottle Bill and a related photograph.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality website noted the 30th anniversary of the Bottle Bill in 2001 with this retrospective article.
Copyright 2005 Janet Bassett