Bristol bottle recycling facility closes, second to shut down this week

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BRISTOL — A bottle redemption facility closed its doors Tuesday, the second one in the state to shut down after they could no longer automatically process returned bottles of Coca-Cola products.

Green Planet Redemption Center, 370 Riverside Ave in Bristol, posted a notice on Facebook, saying in part:

Green Planet has been faced to make a very difficult decision with regards to how we do business. Based on the impact of these changes we can no longer provide the same valuable service as we have throughout the years.

Four employees were laid off.

Lori Beam, owner of Green Planet Redemption Center, said a new redemption policy by Coca Cola forced her out of business.

She said the company contacted her and demanded that future transactions involving Coca Cola need to be hand counted and sorted – and that the redemption center would be paid 30-60 days after the company had verified the contents of the deposited cans and bottles.

She said that this required her to refuse to accept Coca Cola products and thus she could not afford to stay in business. Beam said she was angry, and local charities, that make money with bottle and can redemptions, are also negatively affected.

Nick Martin, spokesman from Coca-Cola of New England, said that the company knows how many cans and bottles are sold in the area and how many redemptions should be coming from any particular place. He said the company saw an irregularity in how many redemptions were coming from three Connecticut redemption centers – including Green Planet in Bristol – and that is what prompted the change in processing.

M&M Redemption in Wallingford announced they were closing Monday with a post on their Facebook page.

Coca-Cola had required the companies  to hand process Coke returnables due to what they called suspicious activities at Green Planet and M&M.

“[Due to] suspicious activity on reverse vending machines (RVMs) at three Connecticut redemption centers, we have asked these businesses to manually sort containers so we may verify that our containers are being properly processed in accordance with Connecticut law,” said Nick Martin, Coca-Cola’s Director of Public Affairs and Communications for New England.

The owners of M&M said they stood to lose at least $1,000 week if Coke maintained its position.

The Coca-Cola Co. distributes Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Sprite, Fanta, Fresca, Mello Yello, Fuze, Barq’s, Dasani and Vitamin Water.