October 13, 2010

PostStar.com

Queensbury gets new deposit bottle redemption center

QUEENSBURY -- The owners of a home improvement business are hoping to cash in on rising recycling rates by opening a bottle and can redemption center.

Tom and Bonnie Kurish said slower sales at their other enterprise prompted them to consider alternatives.

The couple run Adirondack Sunrooms, which specializes in sunroom installations and other home improvements. Since the recession hit, they said, requests have been slower, and it has been difficult for customers to get bank financing.

"Everybody has been holding back," Tom Kurish said. "We've been declining since the fall of 2008. We're still selling, but not the same quantity."

A family member runs a redemption center in Warrensburg called Direct Deposit, so the Kurishes decided to give it a try themselves.

Ca$h Can opened on Oct. 1 at the Northgate Plaza on Route 9.

The couple said they were encouraged in part because water bottles have been added to the list of redeemable products. And while it's a dirty business, the couple believe recycling will only continue to grow.

Ca$h Can isn't the only new store with that idea; in fact, the number of new redemption centers is growing statewide.

The Department of Environmental Conservation issued 113 registrations for redemption centers in 2009. So far this year, the DEC has processed 131 registrations, and department officials said they expect more before the year's end.

Last fall, the Bottle Bill was expanded to include a 5-cent deposit on bottled water, marking the first change to the law in decades.

Up to that point, fewer than 20 percent of the more than 3.2 billion water bottles sold in New York each year were being recycled, according to the Container Recycling Institute.

The DEC hasn't tracked recycling rates since the deposit went into effect, but redemption centers in the area say it has been good for business.

It's Your Nickel owner Jim McMahon said he has seen a "huge increase" in bottled water returns in the last year.

McMahon said it took a while for consumers to start bringing them in, but since the spring, bottled water redemptions have increased from both current and new customers. Overall redemptions are up 15 percent, and there are now more water bottles than soda bottles coming into his store, he said.

It's Your Nickel opened a second Glens Falls store on Dix Avenue in March, which has helped with overflow from the original Broad Street location.

"It's been going very well," McMahon said. "(The new store) has taken up all the slack from this store."

Ginny Vanderwood, owner of C & G Redemption Center in Ticonderoga and Granville, also said recycling rates have increased noticeably in recent years. She cited the Bottle Bill, as well as the economy, and said she's heard similar reports from redemption center owners in Syracuse.

"There has been more recycling since the economy has been the way it has been," Vanderwood said.

Ca$h Can allows customers to donate their deposits to any of several local charities. The business will track customers' redemptions over the course of a month and write a check to the designated beneficiary for the designated amount.

Tom Kurish believes the service will be popular with groups that do fundraisers such as can drives.

The Kurishes still have their sunroom business. But the couple hope to expand and add employees for Ca$h Can if things go well.

http://poststar.com/business/local/article_803303cc-d71e-11df-b76a-001cc4c002e0.html


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