Learn How Bottle Exchange Works At Costco

5 mins read

Not all states operate bottle exchange programs, but those that do see increased rates of recycling and decreased litter.

In participating states, some Costco stores offer bottle exchange dropoff points where you can receive a refund for your bottle deposits. Today, we’ll go over exactly how this works.Bottle Exchange Works At Costco

Does Costco Have A Bottle Return Program?

Costco offers bottle exchange and redemption at select stores in states with bottle exchange programs.

States with active bottle exchange programs include:

  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Hawaii
  • Iowa
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • New York
  • Oregon
  • Vermont

For an in-depth look at bottle return programs by state, check out our post about Walmart’s bottle return program here.

Costco’s bottle return machines are typically located outdoors, meaning that anyone can use them regardless of Costco membership status.

When returning bottles to Walmart, the amount you receive back as a refund depends on the amount you paid as a deposit when you purchased your beverage. Bottle deposits are typically between 5 cents or 15 cents, so you can expect to receive approximately this amount per bottle when you make your returns.

How To Use Bottle Return Machines At Costco

Because not all Costco locations house the same type of bottle return machine, the process for how to use these machines will differ by location.

Most bottle return machines function like “reverse vending machines,” meaning that you place your bottles or cans into the machine and receive money back in return. However, while some bottle return machines are equipped to dispense cash and coins on the spot, others provide a voucher instead which needs to be taken to a register inside the store to receive your cash refund.

Check out this video explaining how to use the Costco bottle return machines at one Costco location.

Types Of Bottles and Cans Accepted At Costco

The type of bottles and cans accepted in bottle return machines may vary by location.

In most places, bottle return machines are only equipped to accept cans and plastic bottles. While some glass bottles may be eligible for refund, this material is typically not allowed in bottle return vending machines.

It’s also possible that some bottle brands might not be accepted in all machines, as was the experience of this Reddit user:

How Much Can You Earn When Returning Bottles?

Bottle deposits are typically set between 5 and 15 cents per bottle. This means that however much you paid as a deposit when you purchased your beverage is how much you can receive back when you return your bottle.

Some people save quite a bit of money by saving up all of their cans and bottles and exchanging them at one time. This way, you can theoretically earn an unlimited amount. You’ll just be held back by how many bottles you can haul to Costco at one time.

Just remember that when you receive a bottle deposit refund, you’re not actually “earning” money. You paid for that deposit when you purchased your beverage originally, and now you’re just getting that money back in exchange for returning the bottle.

Costco does not state a specific limit on how many bottles or cans can be returned per day.


Can you use BottleDrop at Costco?

Yes. Oregon’s BottleDrop recycling program is available at some Costco locations throughout Oregon. Click here to learn more.

Does Costco accept empty wine bottles?

No. Most bottle return machines only accept cans and plastic bottles. Glass wine bottles should be recycled in appropriate receptacles.

Are Costco water bottles recyclable?

Yes. Most (if not all) commercially available disposable water bottles are recyclable.

Do you get 5 cents for recycling water bottles?

This depends. If you live in a state that operates a bottle exchange program, then you can receive 5 cents back for each water bottle you recycle at a designated bottle exchange location. However, you do not receive a deposit back simply by recycling your bottle in any receptacle.

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