How Redemption Centers Like New Bedford’s Can King Make Money
Once a year, every year, I pay a visit to one of New Bedford's recycling redemption centers, Can King.
As you may or may not know, I drink a lot of Sprite. In recent years, my Sprite intake has gone down as I am drinking more water, but most of my meals are still accompanied by the lemon-lime soda. As you can see, the cans of Sprite add up.
I'd say I usually get about $40-$50 in cash each year when I cash in my bottles and cans.
The warm weather this past weekend inspired me to clean out the cellar and get those cans out of the house and to the redemption center. It seems like a lot of other people had the same idea, as the line at Can King was long.
On the way home from dropping off the cans, I started thinking about how Can King makes its money. If we are cashing in the can for five cents each, how are they getting paid?
There are roughly 65 centers located across the state, including two in New Bedford, four in Fall River, one in Wareham and two in Swansea. According to the Massachusetts Bottle Bill, these redemption centers are allowed to charge a processing fee from the refunds. In other words, they can pay you four cents per can instead of five cents per can. This does not mean that all of the redemption centers take advantage of that fee, however.
According to the Massachusetts Bottle Bill Resource Guide, the centers also receive 3.25 cents per bottle that they redeem. Retail stores like grocery and liquor stores receive 2.25 cents per bottle.
The number of redemption centers in Massachusetts has been reduced greatly over the past two decades because of a lack of a raise in revenue. The handling fee was raised back in 2013, but not before many centers had closed their doors.