November 11, 2008
News From New York Association of Convenience Stores
For more information contact: James Calvin, 518-432-1400
NYACS Reminds Retailers of Bottle Bill Redemption Responsibilities
ALBANY, NY (11/11/2008; 1153)(readMedia)-- Following a recent enforcement sweep by the Department of Environmental Conservation, the New York Association of Convenience Stores is reminding retailers of their responsibilities under the bottle bill.
Dozens of DEC personnel, some of them armed, visited hundreds of retail stores undercover, posing as customers wanting to redeem empty containers, to see if the stores were fulfilling their obligation to refund the nickel deposit. A store can be fined $500 for refusing to redeem bottles or cans it sells -- and some retailers were cited.
"We're not sure what prompted this unprecedented enforcement operation," said NYACS President James Calvin. "Perhaps DEC suspected widespread non-compliance. Or maybe someone's trying to discredit our opposition to expanding the bottle bill to non-carbonated beverages. Or maybe they just needed some spare change. Regardless of the reason, the bottom line is that stores selling beverages have a duty to know the law and comply with it."
"For smaller stores that redeem manually because they lack the space and budget for reverse vending machines, it's sometimes a nuisance when someone plops down a garbage bag full of cans, and other customers are waiting in line," said Calvin. "But redemption is your responsibility under the law. The store operator must ensure that all cashiers understand this." He offered these basics:
- If the deposit container is of a size and brand you sell, you have to redeem it.
- You can limit the number of containers one customer can redeem in one day, but it can't be less than 240. However, any customer has a right to make 48-hour advance arrangements to redeem an unlimited number of containers at your store.
- If you set a redemption limit, you must post a sign saying so "in a prominent place." It must also disclose the advance appointment option above.
- If your store is open 24 hours, you must redeem containers around the clock. Otherwise, you can refuse redemptions only during the first and last half hour of your business day.
- Stores can refuse to redeem "any broken bottle, corroded or dismembered can, or any beverage container which contains a significant amount of foreign material." DEC says the container doesn't have to be rinsed, but may be refused if it "has anything in it besides small amounts of dirt, dust or moisture."
NYACS is a private, not-for-profit trade organization representing New York's 7,700 neighborhood convenience stores.