EAST HAVEN -- Another one of the state's redemption centers will be closing as a result of lack of support for the modernization and expansion of the Bottle Bill in Connecticut.
The SARAH Redemption Center took in 16 million cans and bottles last year alone, but must close at the end of September leaving dozens, including employees with special needs, out of work.
"The bottle deposit and all of the associated handling fees have been the same since the 1980's, when the program was first passed," said Louis Burch, the Connecticut Program Director for Citizens Campaign For The Environment.
This closing is bad news for customers that rely on the redeemables for extra income. One New Haven man said he earns roughly $60 per week, just with cans. Another frustrated customer suggested she was going to buy a water filter and no longer buy bottled water.
Since the Bottle Bill's inception, in 1980, handling fees that redemption center's receive is somewhere between 1.5 and two cents per container, "when our neighboring states, the redemption centers, are getting paid anywhere from three, 3.5, four cents per container," said Burch.
Now, many of these customers will have to either drive to a redemption center in West Haven or bring their cans and bottles back to the store where they purchased the drinks, which is more than an inconvenience.
"Half the times they're broken, the machines, or somebody's in there with 50 bags and you can't get near room," said Ronnie Caprio, East Haven.
The Governor's idea to increase container deposits to 10 cents apiece didn't fly. Connecticut is one of only 10 state's that have any deposits on its drink containers.
"If the redemption centers and the distributors are not doing the recycling, it's all going in the blue bin and ultimately it's going to be the taxpayers that are going to have to pick up the tab," said Burch.
Over the last several years, at least four of Connecticut's redemption centers have closed. And, according to Burch, many of the remaining redemption centers in Connecticut say they too could be forced to close their doors by the end of this year.