AUBURN, N.Y. (NCC News)- Redemption centers are awaiting updated state container deposit laws, as state lawmakers discuss a proposed bottle bill, that may save small businesses from having to shut down.
With legislative inaction from the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), on a former legislation aimed to help build and support redemption centers, small businesses have either already or are on the verge of closure.
Currently, redemption centers in New York are given 3.5 cents of the nickel per bottle or can returned. The bill, if enacted, would increase that number to 6 cents and raise the deposit fee to 10 cents.
Small business owners like Chris Major of Bag O’ Nickels, said redemption centers like his would benefit from a higher deposit fee and allow him and his employees to work one job and still be able to sustain the business.
“We’re lucky enough to have other jobs,” Major said. “We all work a second job and have, you know, a retirement. So, but I don’t know. I don’t know how a person or people getting into this business and want to raise a family and have the employees needed to run the business could never do and it really succeed.”
Governor Kathy Hochul’s office said she”will be reviewing all legislation that passes both houses of legislature” in the 2024-25 session, including the bottle bill. The bill has not yet been passed by the state senate or assembly.
If enacted, the bill would also extend what gets recycled to glass, wine and liquor bottle and juice containers, which may put small businesses at risk to further expand their space in order hold these products or lead them find another solution to the handle the increased amount of returns they may get.
Ultimately, the bill will not force anyone to recycle or return their bottles to a redemption center, which Major is concerned will continue to allow the state to make millions of dollars off of people not claiming their bottle deposits.
“You’re still going to get people who don’t recycle and it’s going to double what the state gets,” Major said. “I, mean so in turn, they could make money. I believe they would make money in this bill because you’re going to have people out there just don’t want a hassle. Even to them, the dime is not going to matter. Like, okay, I paid a dime.”
For some redemption center owners, the bill could increase their overall takings nearly 40% according to Major who is sure he will be benefiting from the bill.
But for now, in an effort to bring in more revenue, Major incorporated a bottle pickup service to this business for those who are unable to return their own bottles and cans, which brings in nearly 60% of his total revenue.