Walmart locations in participating states accept bottle returns in exchange for cash refunds. To find out if you live in one of these participating states, keep reading.
Before we dig in any deeper, though, it’s important to note that Walmart only accepts glass bottles through their bottle return program.
You can recycle plastic bottles at Walmart Community Recycling Hubs in Arkansas and Oklahoma. However, Recycling Hubs do not offer refunds. You can also return bottles of various materials to the BottleDrop kiosk at the Walmart in Clackamas, Oregon.
When returning bottles to Walmart, the amount you receive as a refund depends on the amount you paid as a deposit when you purchased your beverage. Bottle deposits are typically either five cents or ten cents, so you can expect to receive approximately this amount per bottle when you make your returns.
Keep in mind that Walmart limits the refund amount to $25 per person per day. In states where the container deposit is ten cents, you can return up to 250 bottles every day.
Walmart Locations With Bottle Returns
Walmart offers bottle return services at all of their locations in states with container deposit laws.
These laws are often referred to as “bottle bills” and require a minimum refundable deposit on beer, soda, and other beverage containers. Bottle bills typically only apply to glass containers. To learn more about bottle bills, click here.
The following states have bottle bills:
- New York
All Walmart locations in these ten states offer cash refunds for returned glass bottles.
Some states, including Delaware, used to have bottle return programs but have since gotten rid of these in exchange for different kinds of recycling programs.
All Walmart locations in Canada offer bottle return service, as the whole country has adopted a container deposit law.
In Oregon, you can find BottleDrop kiosks at the Walmart in Clackamas (10000 SE 82nd Ave, Clackamas, OR, 97015). BottleDrop is a bottle and can return program operating exclusively in the State of Oregon.
If you live in Arkansas or Oklahoma, you can also return bottles to one of Walmart’s Community Recycling Hub locations.
Not all stores offer bottle return services during all operating hours, so call ahead before you go to find out when your local Walmart accepts bottles for return.
How To Return A Bottle To Walmart
To return your glass bottles to Walmart, follow these steps:
- Locate the Walmart store you wish to visit by using this store locator tool
- Bring your bottles with you to the store (when you arrive, you can load them into shopping carts to make them easier to transport)
- Locate the bottle return kiosks (they are usually green in color and may be located inside or outside the store)
- Choose a free machine and follow the prompts on the screen to begin
- When the machine is ready, start placing your glass bottles into the designated slot
- When finished, the machine will print a voucher receipt showing your refund amount
- Bring this receipt to any cashier inside the store, and they will instantly give you your cash refund
What Type Of Bottles Can You Return To Walmart?
Unfortunately, only glass bottles can be returned to Walmart for a deposit refund. Plastic bottles and aluminum cans should be recycled in appropriate receptacles instead.
Can You Return A Bottle Bought At Another Store?
Walmart’s bottle return program is completely open and accessible to anyone, regardless of where you purchased your bottle. As long as your glass bottles are clean, they are eligible for a cash refund at participating Walmart locations.
Where Do Returned Bottles At Walmart Go?
Glass bottles returned to participating Walmart locations are recycled through state-operated glass recycling programs. These recycling programs will determine whether your bottle can be sanitized and reused (in which case it will be sent to a bottling plant) or whether it needs to be crushed and recycled. Bottles bound for recycling are sent to third-party recyclers who crush the bottles to prepare them for being made into new glass.
Check out this super cool YouTube video from Jerry Rig Everything on exactly what happens to glass during the recycling process.
Where Else Can You Return Bottles?
In states with bottle bills, a wide range of retailers accept bottles in exchange for deposit refunds.
Stores that offer bottle return services in participating states include:
- Cost Plus World Market
- Fred Meyer
- Grocery Outlet
- Whole Foods
This is not an exhaustive list. Most retailers that sell large quantities of beverages in glass bottles also offer bottle return services in states with bottle bills.
How To Properly Recycle Bottles?
Recycling bottles can happen in a number of ways.
- Return your bottles to a bottle return location
- Take your bottles to a recycling center
- Place your bottles in appropriate recycling bins for curbside pickup
- Reuse your bottles for DIY projects
Regardless of which recycling method you choose, the first and most important thing to know is that bottles must be clean in order to be recycled. Do not attempt to return dirty, moldy, or sticky bottles to a bottle return location or recycling center. If you attempt to recycle a dirty bottle, it will likely be thrown into the garbage by the recyclers who have to handle it.
Do you need to buy new bottles when you return old bottles?
No. There is no expectation of purchase or exchange when returning a bottle for a refund.
Can you return empty water bottles to Walmart?
Yes, as long as they are made of glass. Plastic bottles cannot be returned through Walmart’s bottle return program. However, if you take your bottles to a Walmart Community Recycling Hub in Arkansas or Oklahoma, you can absolutely dispose of plastic bottles there. You will not receive a refund, however.
Does the Walmart bottle return policy apply to shampoo and conditioner?
No. Because shampoo and conditioner typically come in plastic bottles, these bottles cannot be returned through Walmart’s bottle return program. Instead, these bottles should be properly rinsed and disposed of in a plastic recycling receptacle specific to the type of plastic the bottle is made from.