The Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative, which manages the state’s deposit return system, has laid off a portion of its staff.
OBRC declined to say how many employees were affected by the layoffs or which types of positions were cut, noting in an emailed statement on Monday that it was a “small number of positions” and that the layoffs occurred because of “changes in our business environment.”
As of publishing time, OBRC was not listed among the state’s recent Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification notices. Such notices must be posted when certain employers with more than 100 employees conduct a “mass layoff” or close certain employment sites. OBRC characterizes itself as a “major employer of over 500 people across Oregon,” according to the email. Some former employees stated on social media last week that the layoffs affected a variety of positions.
Amid the layoffs, OBRC said it is “well-positioned to continue our stewardship efforts of Oregon’s Bottle Bill on behalf of the beverage industry.”
OBRC is a not-for-profit cooperative created by beverage distributors in 2009 to operate the state’s deposit return system. It manages the system’s BottleDrop network, several processing facilities, a route operations sector for collection of containers at retail stores and other major bottle bill operations. Oregon has the country’s oldest container deposit system and typically sees a return rate at 80% or above.
The news comes a few months after OBRC announced in October that then-CEO Jules Bailey would leave the organization “for other opportunities.” Former president and CEO John Andersen is the cooperative’s current CEO.