New bottles and cans facility sparks C.O. debate

Bend redemption center to replace retailer collections

New Bend bottle-can return site sparks debate

BEND, Ore. - Leevi Herkshan and his wife return their bottles and cans once a week in Bend to make a few extra bucks.

"Well, we are all about recycling," he said Tuesday.

What they don't like is standing out in the cold, and having to get a maintenance guy every five minutes because the machines are broken.

That's why the idea of a new indoor bottle redemption center is appealing.

"It would be a lot easier to just bring in the big bag, just like that -- quick," Herkshan said.

The center will open at 755 NE Second Street in Bend, formerly a Salvation Army store.

It will offer three ways to return bottles and cans: staff will hand-count up to 50 containers a day seven days a week; self-serve machines will accept up to 350 containers per day --  and there's an E-Z drop system, where you can fill pre-labeled bags with deposit containers and drop them off 24/7.

"These machines get jammed up a lot, and I think having someone there that can always tend to them -- I think it's a good idea," said one Bend resident.

But there's a catch. Stores within 1.5 miles of the new redemption center will shut down their bottle return services, including:

Erikson's Thriftway Bend, 725 NE Greenwood Ave.
Safeway #0414, 642 NE 3rd St.
Safeway #1888, 320 W Century Drive
Bi-Mart, 351 NE 2nd St.
Ray's #41, 210 SW Century Drive
Newport Avenue Market, 1121 NW Newport Ave.

Grocers within 2.75 miles of the facility will accept a maximum of 24 containers per day, including:

Fred Meyer #021, 61535 S Hwy 97
Safeway #1504, 2650 NE Hwy 20
Costco #0101, 2500 Hwy 20 E
Food 4 Less, 63455 N Hwy 97

It's a Catch-22 for customers -- get a nice, cleaner center for the sacrifice of convenience.

"That's really going to suck, actually -- having to drive somewhere, when I would rather do it close and get it done myself," said one Bend resident.

Many are anxious to see how the new center will affect recycling habits.

As for Herkshan -- after getting a bottle maintenance person for the fifth time in 20 minutes, he's ready for a change.

"It'd be great for everybody, I think," he said.

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