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October 29, 2009

Oneida Daily Dispatch

New return center in Oneida ready for water bottles

Stan Burggoff of Cash for Cans can and bottle return sorts cans on Wednesday in Oneida. -Dispatch Staff Photo by JOHN HAEGER

ONEIDA -- The original date of Oct. 31 for plastic water bottles to be returnable has been pushed back by state officials to Nov. 8 to give distributors and stores more time to adjust labels and bottle return machines.

Any distributors who are able to change labels to include the nickel deposit earlier than Nov. 8 are being encouraged to distribute them.

“We’re in the process now to make sure the label requirements are met,” said Maureen Wren, spokesperson for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

Consumers will be charged the five cent deposit beginning Oct. 31 only for distributors who have met label requirements.

The bill originally passed on April 7 as part of the 2009-10 state budget and adds plastic water bottles smaller than a gallon to the list of returnable, refundable bottles.

Marty Blair, owner of Cash for Cans, said he has already seen eight to 10 supermarket brand plastic water bottles come through his new business. He cannot give customers the five cent return until Oct. 31, but he said he will hold on to the bottles until then.

Blair expects more business as the Bottle Bill goes into effect. Blair and employee Stan Burgdoff say they recognize the importance of the bill for recycling and increased profit. Blair said many people just throw out plastic water bottles now. “It’ll keep them out of landfills,” Burgdoff said.

Currently, any water bottle that customers bring in that does not have a five cent deposit on the label is recycled through the store’s garbage pickup.

“We’re just helping the process, making it easy to recycle,” Blair said. His new business opened Sept. 1 and he said, “Business is picking up, word’s getting out.”

Cash for Cans is a bottle and can redemption center that, according to Blair, sees an average of 25 to 30 customers, yielding about 6,000 cans each day. After bottles and cans are counted and customers paid, Blair and Burgdoff separate them according to their brands and distributors. They are bagged and stored until distributors pick them up.

While customers receive five cents for each bottle or can returned, the redemption center is reimbursed 8.5 cents by the distributor, a profit of 3.5 cents per bottle or can.

“It’s currency really, it’s five cents,” said Blair. With an ailing economy, he said “Nickels add up ... (Customers) are pinching every nickel.”

Blair said he’s not worried about competition for business with other area redemption centers or supermarkets. “It’s clean and an easy in and out here,” Blair said.

Bottle drives and fundraisers are welcomed and frequent customers, Blair said. When people have a lot of bottles and cans, “it’s a lot faster,” he said. “It’s a lot easier when you don’t have to deal with machines jamming up.”

Cash for Cans is open 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday at 1121 Glenwood Ave. in Oneida (across from Denny’s) .


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