Pennies add up for bottle redemption centers

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)- If you had a nickel for every can you turned in, the bottle redemption center would still have three-and-a half cents more.

On the corner of Hertel and Elmwood in North Buffalo, Bucks for Bottles is one of the many new redemption centers to pop up around Western New York.

“The most common question is ‘How do we make money’ basically.” said employee Brad Hoerner.

The magic number is eight and a half cents. That’s how much this place can sell each aluminum, plastic or glass container to a Lancaster recycling plant after they pay you a nickel for it. But it’s all based on volume.

“Here, we have not time to really stand around. There’s always something to do. We got bottles to crush, cans, bottles to crush. There’s always something we gotta do here.” said Hoerner, who knows hot to handle people who try to chat with him as he counts cans. “Some people do and I just kind of listen and when I got a moment when I got a solid number in my head, I’ll respond but most of the time, I just stay quiet.”

Russell Millis brought in forty bucks worth, and was out in ten minutes.”If I had to drop all these into a machine, one by one, it would’ve taken long enough to make me not want to do it.”

“We average during the week about 15,000 bottles, but on the weekend, we get hit harder, 30,000, which is what we would like every day.” said Hoerner.

Even on a good day, when 30,000 bottles come in, a store like this makes about a thousand bucks, and then has to pay the workers, and the utilities. But there seems to be no end to the supply or demand.

“A lot of people in New York State have the deposit, they want their nickel back, they bring it to us, saves them time and everybody wins.”

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