How to Start a Bottle Redemption Center in New York

by Christian Fisher; Updated September 26, 2017
Register with the state's Department of Environmental Conservation to be a bottle redemption center in New York,

Anyone selling a sugared or carbonated beverage in a bottle, can or plastic container must charge at least five cents' deposit per container sold in New York. A redemption center can be any person or business that refunds the five-cent deposits to redeemers of empty containers. Redemption centers make money by returning containers to distributors. You’ll need storage space for containers, regular hours of operation and cash to operate a redemption center in New York.

Get a business license with the state or county. Most redemption centers are retailers selling beverages because the law requires stores to redeem beverage containers from brand names that they sell. You don’t have to be a retailer. File for a doing-business-as license with your county clerk’s office so you can operate as a sole proprietorship or partnership. Register your business with the Department of State’s Division of Corporations if you plan to operate your redemption center as a corporation, a limited liability company or a not-for-profit.

Complete a redemption center registration form and submit it to the state. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, NYSDEC, provides a downloadable form that you’re required to complete in order to register to be a redemption center. The state does not charge a fee for registration. Allow about 30 days for your application to be processed. Provide any required documentation, such as a business license, requested on the registration form’. Mail the form to NYSDEC at the address provided on the form.

Create and post a redemption warning in your facility for redeemers to see. NYSDEC’s website also provides a printable sign that lets redeemers know of the penalty for redeeming beverage containers on which the deposit was never paid. Make a warning sign that’s in compliance with state law. The sign must be at least 8-by-10-inches and the text must be written with at least a one-inch font. Post it near the entrance of your facility.

Sign with a third-party recycler to pick up the empty beverage containers your center collects. New York has 11 pickup services serving different regions of the state. The list of these companies is available on the NYSDEC website.Contact the recycler that handles your region and subscribe to its pickup service, especially if you expect a large volume of business.

Spread the word that you're in business as a bottle redemption center. Promote your regular hours of operation and what types and brands of containers your center accepts. Find out if you can lease "reverse vending machines" from the recycler serving your area. Redeemers can use these machines to insert their containers and collect payment in a self-serve fashion, which may be more cost-effective for your business.

About the Author

A writer since 1995, Christian Fisher is an author specializing in personal empowerment and professional success. From 2000 to 2005, he wrote true stories of human triumph for "Woman's World" magazine. Since 2004, he has also helped launch businesses including a music licensing company and a music school.

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