Recycling, BottleDrop Fund, Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative (OBRC)

Photo credit: Nokwan007/Shutterstock

The group that runs Oregon’s container deposit program announced it will donate unredeemed deposit money to charitable purposes if the redemption rate for containers drops below 80 percent.

The Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative (OBRC) manages almost all containers redeemed through the state’s deposit program. OBRC uses the value of unredeemed containers to help fund the collection and recycling of bottles and cans. But this week, the group announced a new initiative called the BottleDrop Fund.

“Any time the redemption rate drops below 80 percent, the target set by the Oregon Legislature, OBRC and the beverage industry will donate the extra value of unredeemed deposits above the cost of running the cooperative to the BottleDrop Fund at The Oregon Community Foundation,” according to OBRC’s announcement. “The BottleDrop Fund will then make charitable grants to nonprofits around Oregon for litter and waste reduction, environmental conservation and education, job training for low-income Oregonians, and other partnerships that solve community problems in the spirit of the Bottle Bill.”

Oregon’s bottle deposit program, the first to launch in the U.S., has seen substantial changes in recent years. In 2017, the deposit increased from 5 cents to 10 cents. A bill passed by the legislature in 2011 called for the doubling of the deposit if the bottle and can recycling rate came in below 80 percent for two years in a row. That happened in 2014 and 2015, when the rates were 68.3 percent and 64.5 percent.

The bill also directed that new beverage types be added to the program. As a result, starting this year, juices, teas, coffees, sport drinks and others were added.

OBRC also expanding its refillable glass beer bottle program (see related story for details).

Around the state, OBRC has been installing standalone, staffed redemption centers, called BottleDrop centers, that incorporate new reverse vending machine technologies. The 2011 law authorized the creation of the BottleDrop centers and allowed retailers near the centers to stop redeeming containers.

OBRC said it has been working to encourage returns by launching a bulk drop-off program, mobile app and matching donation program for charities. “Despite these efforts, bottle return rates could fall for a period, leaving more unredeemed deposits in the system than would be needed,” according to the statement. “That’s why we created the BottleDrop Fund.”

OBRC expects to release details on grant guidelines and eligibility requirements later this year.

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Happy #NationalWomensHistoryMonth!

From Behind the Pen

National Women’s History MonthImage credit: Photos Creative Commons / Collage designed by Amy Held

Women have always held a monumental position in history, whether they were given credit for their contributions or not. In a patriarchal dominated society, women from many cultures were led to believe they were of a weaker and inferior intellect. Of course, we know that is not true, especially as women are being recognized every day for their major contributions to unlimited industries universally, throughout history.

The National Women's History Project, National Women’s History MonthImage Credit: The National Women’s History Project

The United States Congress in 1987 designated March as National Women’s History Month. Women are stronger, smarter, devoted, loyal, dedicated and more inventive than we are ever given credit for. This year’s theme for the month is NEVERTHELESS SHE PERSISTED: Honoring Women Who Fight All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. While this month is an official celebration of shining the spotlight on many outstanding and pioneering women who…

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What If Wednesday: To Love Each Day

Posted: February 14, 2018 in Uncategorized

From Behind the Pen

Love, Valentines Day

Today we celebrate Valentine’s Day, but do we only turn up the volume of our love meter on this day? Can you imagine how much more tranquil and united we would be if we gave the gift of love each day as passionately as we do on this 14th day of February? Imagine that?

Happy Valentine’s Day on #WhatIfWednesday

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Charities, innovation, chatbots

Image source: (Westend61/Getty Images)

The charity sector, like every other sector, is facing a digital transformation. Our online ecosystem has disintegrated into what a former Facebook executive called “short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops”. Worse, this post-truth world threatens the fabric of civil society. Fake news has affected elections, referendums and continues to polarise people around the world.

Connectivity makes the extremes in society more visible. But it can also amplify the good work of charities. The latest technology fads can be a distraction: organisations trying to experiment with disruptive technologies such as bitcoin, virtual reality, artificial intelligence and more will soon find themselves overwhelmed. But frugal innovation and experimentation can be beneficial. Charities of all sizes need a robust digital strategy that covers the basics and should be open to trying new tools to promote social change.

Video continues to dominate social media

Social media platforms have become mainstream communications channels, but many charities face enormous challenges using them strategically. According to the Global NGO Tech Report, only 32% of non-profit organisations have a written social media strategy.

On Facebook, the sector has bemoaned the death of organic reach – what some have dubbed as the “reachpocalypse”. According to social media experts, the organic reach of some pages on Facebook has been steadily declining from 100% in 2012, to an average of 1-6% two years later. This means that your charity’s posts are less likely to show up in your followers’ newsfeeds naturally – and many organisations are subsequently investing more money into social to boost their reach.

Video content can help with visibility in the Facebook newsfeed, as it is prioritised by Facebook’s algorithm. Charities should upload videos directly onto Facebook, and add videos to paid social activity, as well as doing regular Facebook Live broadcasts to engage supporters and fundraise.

These videos do not have to be expensive to produce. It is more important to be authentic and engaging. The Community Action Partnership, a small US charity, posted a humorous video of its executive director lip-syncing to promote its annual fundraiser. The video, created on an iPhone, went viral with over 10m views.

Messaging and chatbots

Technology such as Facebook messenger chatbots can help your organisation to interact with supporters. Facebook messenger has recently reached more than one billion users worldwide, meaning that more people will be using it to contact charities with questions and comments at all hours of the day. Basic bots can answer simple questions, while more sophisticated programs can help educate supporters about a charity’s issues and services.

This includes very small organisations. The good news is that a simple Facebook bot can be designed at little cost using the growing number of bot-authoring platforms. Climate Reality did this by designing a Facebook chatbot to build its action alert email list.

Bots can provide a new channel to engage people who are hard to reach. Humanitarian organisations are researching how the use of messaging and bots can help refugees or those directly affected by natural disasters. Unicef created its own bot, U-Report, for Facebook and Twitter to engage young people. The bot polls its followers (U-reporters) on a range of topics and uses the data to influence public policy. In Liberia, for example, the bot asked 13,000 young people if their school teachers were exchanging grades for sex. Some 86% said yes, uncovering a widespread problem and prompting Liberia’s education minister to work with Unicef to tackle it.

Engaging mobile

With 90% of media interactions taking place via a screen, and 38% taking place on a smartphone, there is no longer an excuse for charity websites not to be optimised for mobile devices. But many lag behind. According to Reason Digital, charities missed out on an estimated £1.5bn of donations last year due to high bounce rates on mobile devices. People using mobile devices to view a charity website are more likely to leave after visiting one page, compared to users viewing from a desktop.

That translates to a significant loss in donations. It is not just about making websites in general (and fundraising pages in particular) readable on smaller screens, but about investing in a design that makes sense on all screens. It is hard enough to get donors onto our websites. Let’s not make it more difficult for them.

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Happy New Year

The confetti is cleared, the fireworks have made their big bang and the celebration of entering a new year has quieted down. Everyone is back to the daily grind, but is your grind the same as it was on December 31?

We know that last year had its share of highs and lows, bumps, bruises, and victories. Our lives are colorful and the rollercoaster of life is sure to be an adventure this year as it was in the past. Yet, we continue to remain optimistic, prayerful, empowered, and encouraged. There are going to be those days where we celebrate some incredible moments with joy, and then there will be those moments that we will weep with sadness.

Just remember as long as you can breathe, you have life. Keep breathing! Keep living!

From Behind the Pen

New Year's Resolutions, Happy New Year

What if we stop waiting to make a list of New Year’s resolutions on December 31 or January 1, and instead throughout the year make doable, bite-sized achievable goals whose success you can celebrate each day? Let’s face it, many of us are inclined to make a list of goals to stick on our list of New Year’s resolutions and just a few days into the new year, we fall off of the horse. Should we change our tactics? What if?


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Merry Christmas, Holidays

There are so many memories woven into the fabric of the holidays. While we can’t change the past or do anything about the future, we can only bask in the essence of this moment.

So on that note, from our family to yours, Merry Christmas, Season’s Greetings and Happy Holidays!

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