Bottle redemption centers call for state action to stay open

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10–Jade Eddy, owner of MT Returnables in Queensbury, said bottle redemption centers in New York State are in dire need of help to keep their businesses open. She’s calling on the governor and state legislature to act quickly.

“They should have increased our handling fee during the legislative session, but since they’ve chosen not to do that, they need to find an emergency fix— whether it be in the form of immediate grants, or they call an emergency session and increase that handling fee,” said Eddy.

She said the handling fee for redemption centers is 3.5 cents.

“We are being paid less than our customers are being paid.”

Blair Horner, Executive Director for NYPIRG explained some of the struggles businesses are facing.

“Redemption centers have been on a tight margin for years, and because of changes to inflation and increase of minimum wage requirements in New York, so much so that some of them have even shut down and some are talking about shutting down,” said Horner.

Some advocates have been calling for an expansion to New York State’s bottle bill to increase the bottle and can deposit from 5 cents to 10 cents.

“The new bill that has been introduced, that if it becomes law, will help redemption centers because it will expand the amount of products that would be redeemed and also increases the handling fee that they receive for handling the containers,” said Horner.

Under this bill, containers like sports drink bottles would be accepted and Horner said the handling fee for the redemption centers would be increased to 6 cents.

“I absolutely support an expanded bottle bill, but there are parts of it that I think need work,” said Eddy. “I think legislators really need to allow redemption centers into the conversation.”

New York State currently gets 80% of the money left over from people not returning their bottles.

Horner thinks this legislation would be beneficial to both the state and local businesses.

This legislation was not included in this year’s state budget.

The Governor’s office telling stating, “Governor Hochul will review all legislation that passes both houses of the legislature.”