EUGENE, Ore. (KMTR) -- Can and bottle recycling could change drastically in west Eugene with a newly proposed recycling center.
The Oregon Bottle Recycling Cooperative (OBRC) has proposed building a 26,000 square foot bottle recycling facility on West Broadway Avenue, near Garfield Street. The center would take deposit containers and weigh them to calculate how much money people are owed.
Ideally, the facility would make it faster and easier to return bottles for the five-cent deposit, rather than the current method of many bottle recycling areas where users have to feed them into specific machines one at a time. The facility would primarily weigh cans and bottles; however, consumers could still take part in manual return if they wish.
Bruns’ Apple Market is one of three grocery stores near the proposed facility that would be affected. The recycling facility would act as a hub, allowing Bruns, Fred Meyer on West 11th and Albertsons on 18th and Chambers to completely eliminate in-store bottle recycling.
Tom Bruns is the manager at Bruns’ Apple Market and welcomes the new bottle return facility. Bruns says bottles have been a burden for the market for years. Stores have to pay to rent, power and maintain basic operation of the machines. If the machine breaks down, a technician from OBRC has to come out to work on it. OBRC also has to constantly load the machines with new barcodes that recognize different containers that are accepted under the bottle return program.
Labor-wise, the machines are also a big strain on businesses. Bruns says store staff has to check the machines once an hour or seventeen times a day, dealing with constant break downs and a sticky mess. The market also has to store plastic containers inside to prevent bottle theft and re-return.
“I don't see a downside on it plus for the person returning, if they could go and have absolutely everything go through and not have jam ups and not have to stand out . . . in the rain, you know. I don't see how it's a bad thing for anyone,” says Tom Bruns.
OBRC still has to meet with Eugene city planners about the proposed facility and says it isn’t a done deal yet. If the facility is built, OBRC would be looking at opening it by 2014.
If built, four other nearby stores, including Wal-mart on West 11th, Safeway on 18th and Oak, Albertsons on 30th and Hilyard and Albertsons on Coburg Road would also be affected by the facility. Those stores would be allowed to reduce the amount of cans they collect to just 24 per person per day.