Refillable Bottle System in Oregon is a dream come true
No one believed him, and his friends thought he was insane, but it worked. Matt Swihart, founder of the Double Mountain Brewery in Hood River, has come out with a bottle refilling system instead of recycling. It is both, eco-friendly and also cheaper to produce.
The brewery founder had started buying refillable bottles from Canada, which consumers had to return, but as predicted, not many people would and profit was not quite as attractive. However, he continued the business as it was and took anything that came back in good conditions.
Now his dream has come true. Matt is doing both, contributing with the environment while making a living out of it.
At his brewery, bottling machines are refilling crystal bottles with a new pale ale associated with the State’s bottle deposit system, the Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperation, who owns a statewide infrastructure for collecting bottles.
Before the partnership, Belmont Station was one of the places where customers had to return their bottles. Now this responsibility has fallen on the Cooperative, making the process easier also for customers.
But in order to continue growing, if refilled bottles are sold out the State of Oregon, it is very unlikely that bottles will be returned. Thus, breweries are only allowed to distribute 20 percent of refillable bottles outside the State.
This is why stakeholders and supporters wish Oregon could become the trendsetter for a National refilling system.
Currently, the OBRC is also working with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality to determine exactly how much carbon dioxide they’re saving and setting up a new bottle-washing facility to Portland envisaged for 2020 where refillable bottles will be washed in Montana.
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