At Capital Redemption Center in Hartford, redeemers said the sound of bottles and cans clinking again means more cash for them in midst of the COVID-19 crisis.
“People need money,” Dipik Patel owner of Capital Redemption Center said.
For 40 days Patel said his redemption center stood silent after it had to closed amid the pandemic. He typically sees 40 people a day who are often homeless and depend on the refund.
“Sometimes $100 a box, sometimes $40, $10 it depends on the customer,” Patel said.
“They’re not drug dealers, they’re not thieves, they’re not burglars. They are trying to make an honest living just picking up bottles and cans,” Alan Stosui, who redeems his bottles and cans, said.
Most of Connecticut’s 15 centers like Redemption Centers of America in West Haven have remained open, but retailers like grocery and liquor stores were allowed to temporarily suspend redemption starting in March.
“We know that there’s a lot of containers out there that people may be holding onto at home and need to bring in for redemption,” Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Katie Dykes said.
Thursday, Dykes and state Senator Christine Cohen reminded residents they can still recycle at redemption centers and that retailers will begin their bottle redemption on a limited basis starting May 20.
“It’s important to remember that if we are not redeeming our bottles and cans we’re not getting that important recycle material into that supply chain,” Cohen said.
Redemption centers are practicing social distancing by allowing only a certain amount of people inside at a time and spacing them out between machines.
DEEP said it expects most retailers to fully re-open their redemption areas by June 3.