BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Good news for people who have redeemable bottles and cans that are starting to pile up in their homes and garages: you can start returning them beginning on June 5, 2020.
Back in March, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) and the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office (AGO) suspended enforcement of the requirements for retailers to accept beverage containers that have a deposit until further notice or until the current state of emergency was terminated. Retail outlets and redemption centers had the option to remain open.
According to a news release sent to 22News from MassDEP, the required acceptance of bottle bill containers for redemption will resume in a two-stage process, beginning on June 5, 2020. The plan includes protocols and requirements to ensure the safety of employees and the public.
The two phases are:
- Enforcement of redemption requirements will resume at retailers using reverse vending machines (RVMs) on June 5, 2020.
- Enforcement of redemption requirements will resume at retailers accepting containers over-the-counter on June 19, 2020.
Bottle redemption services will need to adhere to the protocols set forth in the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development’s Guidance Regarding the Operation of Essential Services, including:
- Customers and employees wear a mask or face-covering;
- Post signage to remind customers to practice social distancing;
- Clearly mark 6-foot spacing in lines on the floor;
- Limit bottle room occupancy; and
- Disinfect machines before proceeding to empty them.
Customers are encouraged to check the operating status of redemption locations before bringing empty beverage containers for redemption and should follow store guidelines related to redemption services and standard safety precautions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, such as wearing a mask and social distancing.
Customers visiting retailer redemption locations may be limited to redeeming no more than 120 deposit containers at a time. Customers seeking to redeem more than 120 containers are encouraged to utilize a redemption center with the capacity to manage large volumes efficiently and effectively. A list of registered redemption centers can be found here.
Customers must also ensure that all beverage containers are free of product, rinsed and not commingled with other materials. Redemption locations may not accept containers with contaminants.