The battle over the state's bottle bill is claiming another victim. A shoreline redemption center that helps people with disabilities says it will be closing next month.
The SARAH Redemption Center on Foxon Road in East Haven will be closing. The closure is being blamed on the "lack of support for the modernization and expansion of the Bottle Bill in Connecticut."
This is the third redemption center to close in Connecticut this year.
"It's a bummer, it's going to hurt everybody," said Melvin Hartford, of Deep River.
Including the employees, SARAH serves families and individuals with varying abilities, so this redemption center means a chance to learn work skills and have a job.
"With the shoreline association. It’s a great opportunity for them as well. It’s good to support them,” said Sue Arbo-Givens, of Hamden.
Despite returning 16 million bottles and cans here last year, the businesses model just wasn't working and advocates blame the state's 37-year-old bottle bill, which they call antiquated.
"Currently redemption centers in the state of Connecticut get one-and-half-cents from the distributors for every beer container they collect and two cents for every soda and water bottle. Neighboring states, redemption centers are getting paid 3, 3 1/2 to 4 cents per container,” said Louis Burch, of the Citizens Campaign for the Environment.
In addition to raising the handling fee, Burch says he'd like to see the deposit added to sports drinks, juices, and teas, along with upping the nickel deposit to a dime.
Opponents argue enough folks are recycling and would like to do away with the deposit altogether.
Meanwhile, customers say they're sad to see the place go.
"I think that’s a shame. I'd like to see them stay open. It’s a great convenience for people who do bring a lot of bottles back, and it urges the recycling of the bottles I think,” Arbo-Givens said.
They will reportedly close by the end of September.
Once the redemption center closes, the closest center for customers will be in West Haven.
It is unclear how many employees will lose their job due to the closure.
Last year, a spokesperson for the SARAH Redemption Center said the facility returned more than 16 million cans.
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