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03/17/2020

DEEP to Temporarily Halt Enforcement of Bottle Redemption Requirements

Twitter: @CTDEEPNews
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HARTFORD, CT – Effective March 17, 2020, the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP) temporarily suspended enforcement actions against Connecticut retailers for failing to accept empty beverage containers for redemption under the law known as the “bottle bill.”  During this time, if stores do not accept empty beverage containers, DEEP will not issue them a notice of violation. 

 

Supermarkets and grocers are focused on keeping the shelves stocked for their customers during a time of increased demand, engaging in enhanced cleaning measures to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and may face worker shortages as they strive to keep their employees and their families safe much like other businesses and institutions during this challenging time.

 

DEEP understands that managing on-site redemption and collection areas is proving difficult for some supermarkets and grocers. Providing the option on an interim basis to allow stores to suspend their redemption activities will provide stores with greater flexibility to more effectively maintain and manage their store environment with a focus on product supply.

 

The temporary action will be in place through March 31, 2020, subject to possible extension in consultation with public health officials. At the present time, most independent bottle bill redemption centers in Connecticut are continuing to redeem deposit containers, and some retail stores may choose to do so as well.  DEEP maintains a list of redemption centers in Connecticut on its website:

https://portal.ct.gov/DEEP/Reduce-Reuse-Recycle/Bottles/Connecticut-Redemption-Centers

 

It is recommended that residents check with a redemption location before heading there with a collection of containers to redeem.

 

DEEP is asking for the cooperation of all residents for the duration of this temporary action. DEEP will continue to monitor the effects of this action on Connecticut communities and the impact on the retail industry.  Note that all deposit containers will continue to retain their redemption value though this temporary period, and consumers may choose to safely store bottles and cans until full redemption services resume.  

 

In addition, DEEP has consulted with epidemiology and occupational exposure experts at the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH), as well as with OSHA guidance.  From an occupational health standpoint in general, it is recommended that anyone working to collect bottles at a redemption facility wear nitrile gloves when in the process redeeming deposit containers, due to things like norovirus and other viruses and bacteria that could survive on surfaces for an extended period of time.  Such PPE is expected to be equally protective against COVID-19.  If the employer is not able to provide that PPE to their employees for any reason, DPH would advise them to cease those redemption operations until adequate PPE was available.  For additional information on this topic, please refer to this OSHA webpage:    

https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/covid-19/controlprevention.html  

Contact

DEEP Communications  
DEEP.communications@ct.gov
860-424-3110