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CCE IN THE NEWS

Source: WTNH News 8

East Haven redemption center closing

BY RENEE CHMIEL
NEWS 8 REPORTER

Posted: August 2, 2017
Originally Published: August 1, 2017

EAST HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — The impact of the state budget impasse is being felt around the state. The SARAH Redemption Center in East Haven will soon be closing.

The closing will mean dozens of jobs will be lost for individuals with disabilities. It will also impact customers who rely on can or bottle deposits for income or to support charities.

Many people return cans and bottles to the center. Alex Martinez goes every week. It’s something he relies on, and he says he usually gets about $60 per week.

“It helps out with gas and stuff,” he said.

Employees and customers found out about the closing on Tuesday. Customers bring carfuls of cans and bottles to the center all day long. Many were surprised to learn that these doors will be closing for good. They’ll have to find someplace else to go.

“I don’t know where I’m going to go,” said Andrew Inglese, who was returning recyclables to the center on Tuesday morning. “I guess I’ll have to go to Stop & Shop or something like that. It’s a big inconvenience.”

Advocates blame the center’s closing on the lack of support for expanding the state’s bottle bill. The state legislature did not pass a bill updating the container deposit law, increasing the handling fees that beverage distributors pay to redemption centers like SARAH. There are about 20 centers like SARAH across the state, but several have already closed.

“Not only is this a loss for the environment, but it’s also a loss for working families throughout our state,” said Lou Burch, Connecticut Program Director for The Citizens Campaign for the Environment and a Save CT Bottle Bill Coalition Member.

Many customers are not sure where they will take their recyclables now. Many, like Martinez, don’t want to have to go to a grocery store instead, but now they might have to.

“I go to the supermarkets and they only have three machines,” Martinez said. “It’s kind of tough because you’ve got a line waiting to return the cans.”

The SARAH Redemption Center returned more than 16 million cans and bottles last year alone.

Redemption centers across Connecticut are also in jeopardy.

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