The Board of Directors at the Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative (OBRC) announces that Jules Bailey has assumed the role of Chief Executive Officer and President of OBRC. Before joining OBRC in 2016, Bailey, a former economist, served for several years as a Multnomah County Commissioner representing Southwest and inner Southeast Portland and as a State Legislator, where he helped lead the efforts to modernize Oregon’s Bottle Bill, widely recognized as the most successful in the nation. OBRC is a cooperative formed by beverage distributors to serve as the operational steward of Oregon’s Bottle Bill, and operates the statewide BottleDrop network. Oregon now has nearly 1 million account holders in the BottleDrop Green Bag program, and a 2022 survey by DHM Research found 97% of Oregonians have a favorable view of Oregon’s container redemption program.
Bailey succeeds John Andersen, who created the cooperative and departed his role as OBRC President at the end of 2022 to pursue new opportunities in a family-run business. Andersen served OBRC (and its predecessor organization Container Recovery Inc.) for 30 years “Jules has made a tremendous impact during his time at OBRC thus far, and we have no doubt he will continue this momentum as our new CEO,” said Eric Forrest, President of Eugene-based Bigfoot Beverage and chair of the OBRC Board of Directors. “His vision, acumen and leadership will usher in a new era for OBRC as we continue to push creativity, technology, and innovation to ensure that Oregon’s Bottle Bill remains the best system of its kind in the nation.”
As OBRC’s Chief Stewardship Officer, Bailey was instrumental in growing the Green and Blue Bag programs and bringing additional convenience to customers, overseeing a major expansion in bag drop locations across Oregon, and overseeing the creation of OBRC’s customer-facing smartphone app and customer service infrastructure. In addition, Bailey introduced OBRC’s Refillable Bottle program, the first statewide program of its type, which now has around 2.5 million refillable bottles in circulation.
During his time as Executive Vice President, OBRC deployed its patented state-of-the-art Smart Count AI system which uses image recognition, scanners, cameras, and artificial intelligence to rapidly identify and count bulk batches of OR 10-cent bottles and cans in the “Green Bag” program. The equipment helps OBRC process over 11 million Green and Blue Bags per year, and Bailey has overseen the expansion of that technology to California and elsewhere.
Bailey spent his first day as CEO with front line workers, processing Green Bags in OBRC and BottleDrop facilities. “I could not be more honored to lead this company on behalf of the beverage industry,” said Bailey. “Oregon’s beverage deposit and return program has the highest redemption rate in the nation, helps protect the environment we cherish, and serves as a model for programs around the world. From our employees to our industry partners, at its core, OBRC is made up of inspiring people working hard to ensure Oregonians remain satisfied with their Bottle Bill, and Oregon leads the world in creating a circular economy. I’m thrilled for the work ahead as we continue to expand our network, increase efficiency and convenience within our system, and support community organizations across the state.”