Oregonians Save $1 Million for Higher Education through Recycled Bottles and Cans


The Oregon College Savings Plan and BottleDrop have helped more than 5,000 Oregonians save and build financial security for the future, while preserving our natural landscape

BottleDrop and the Oregon College Savings Plan announced that the program has reached a milestone $1 million saved for higher education through the convenient redemption of bottles and cans. This accomplishment comes little more than three years after launching its collaboration in November 2019, and just in time to celebrate Earth Month.

This innovative program allows individuals and families from across the state to leverage their Oregon Bottle Bill container redemptions to save for future education expenses. Participants can set up automatic fund transfers from their BottleDrop account to one or more Oregon College Savings Plan (OCSP) accounts. To date, 10 million beverage containers have been redeemed and recycled through the partnership, with the funds being transferred to OCSP accounts, to the benefit of more than 5,000 Oregonians saving for higher education expenses.

“We are excited to see bottle and can redemptions continuing to turn into big returns for Oregon College Savings Plan participants,” said Oregon State Treasurer Tobias Read. “Saving a combined $1 million toward education and training after high school is a significant accomplishment, and one that comes with an important bonus conservation benefit. While this is still the beginning of our collaboration and it is gratifying to see Oregonians’ early enthusiasm for this creative savings opportunity with our partner, BottleDrop—Let’s keep saving!”

“This is the only place in the world where people can so directly connect recycling and environmental stewardship with education savings,” said Jules Bailey, President and Chief Executive Officer for the Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative, which operates the BottleDrop network. “The power of Oregon’s Bottle Bill, coupled with the creativity of the State Treasurer’s Office, made way for a truly unique partnership that is helping families across Oregon save for education.”

BottleDrop account holders can save for themselves, for their kids, for their grandkids, or as a gift to anyone with an OCSP account. Setting up a new OCSP account takes about 15 minutes. Participants can access a link to the sign-up page through their BottleDrop account and then immediately begin saving. A
single BottleDrop account can contribute to multiple OCSP accounts, further streamlining the contribution process.

Among the thousands of account holders that have saved for education since the program launched, one example is the Branams in Portland; by partnering with their neighbors, friends, and family members to collect containers, Ceci (11) and Eli (7) have saved more than $3,500 for college in just two years!

“We saw this as an opportunity to help Ceci and Eli learn more about being good stewards of the environment, building community with our neighbors, and contributing to their college savings accounts,” says their dad, John Branam. “Learning how to take a difficult challenge like paying for college, and addressing it through incremental progress is a powerful, and important, life lesson for kids.”

In addition to saving for education, Oregonians also have the option to contribute to a tax-friendly Oregon ABLE Savings Plan account to help people with disabilities and their families save money. As with OCSP, anyone who makes contributions to an Oregon ABLE account can earn the state’s refundable tax credit worth up to $300.

Oregonians can accrue funds for their OCSP and Oregon ABLE accounts by returning their empty beverage containers in Green Bags at any of BottleDrop’s 97 convenient bag drop locations across the state. Account holders with a minimum balance of $5 in their BottleDrop account can do a one-time manual transfer or set up a monthly, recurring transfer to eligible OCSP or Oregon ABLE accounts.

“We’re proud to have built this innovative partnership with BottleDrop, an effort focused on breaking down barriers to saving for families across the state,” said Michael Parker, Executive Director for the Oregon Treasury Savings Network. “The $1 million dollars we’re celebrating are real dollars saved by real people. Every dollar in an Oregon College Savings Plan account adds up for families saving for their kid’s future and is given the opportunity to grow.”

About Author

Kasey Krifka is the Engagement Director with the Oregon State Treasury.

Comments are closed.