Tobias Read
State Treasurer | Oregon

Save up with BottleDrop

Idea Category: Education


The costs associated with post-secondary education and training programs remain a major factor limiting economic mobility. For families with low- or moderate incomes —and especially people of color—the goal of sending kids to college seems financial unattainable. 


We entered into a partnership with BottleDrop, the private industry operator of Oregon’s “Bottle Bill”. Nearly every beverage container sold in Oregon carries a deposit of $0.10, becoming a $0.10 refund when a bottle or can is returned. Containers are frequently returned in “green bags” and dropped off at grocery stores or redemption centers.  Nearly 1 in 3 Oregon households has a BottleDrop account, around 800,000 households.  The demographics of this program swing toward middle and lower income.
The Oregon Bottle Bill was passed 50 years ago, making Oregon the first state with a bottle redemption system aimed at reducing litter (~85% of cans and bottles sold in Oregon are returned for redemption).
Participants can opt to receive cash, but the program was expanded to provide discounts at certain stores and to allow for participants to direct their redemptions to charitable organizations.
The newest option is Save up with BottleDrop which allows participants to direct their redemptions into their Oregon College Savings Plan account. For participants this simply means filling up one of the signature green bags with containers and dropping it off. The funds ($0.10 per container) will be automatically transferred to the college savings plan(s) connected with the account.
The partnership leverages existing incentives to recycle to create a low-friction way to save for post-secondary education.

More Idea’s From Tobias Read

West Coast Infrastructure Exchange

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Oregon Pioneer Prize

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Open Educational Resources (OER)

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OregonSaves 2.0

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Education Savings Credit

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