The Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP) announced on March 17 that it will temporarily suspend enforcement actions against Connecticut retailers who refuse to collect empty beverage containers, under the law known as the “bottle bill.”
The agency made the announcement in light of the need for grocers and supermarkets to allocate more hours and staff resources towards keeping shelves stocked and their stores sanitized during the coronavirus pandemic. The action will be in place at least through March 31, subject to a possible extension.
“DEEP understands that managing on-site redemption and collection areas is proving difficult for some supermarkets and grocers,” it said in a March 17 statement. “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.”
Residents are encouraged to verify that their redemption centers are still collecting bottles before heading to the facilities with empty beverage containers. A list of Connecticut redemption centers can be found here. The agency is “asking for the cooperation of all residents for the duration of this temporary action” and will continue to monitor the effects on Connecticut communities and the impact on the retail industry. 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 reported it has consulted with epidemiology and occupational exposure experts at the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH), as well as with OSHA guidance. Its 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. For additional information, please refer to OSHA guidelines.