The Ottumwa Courier

Letters to the Editor

July 10, 2013

Can redemption a challenge

Can redemption a challenge

Many have noticed that the can redemption center at Tenco has closed for two weeks to allow us to install additional equipment donated by John Deere Ottumwa Works and a chance to get caught up. We understand that this presents an inconvenience to the community, and we will work hard to get back open as soon as possible.

We are taking in more than double the amount of cans and bottles than we were two years ago. We currently have more than 1.3 million cans in storage alone, and our current processing capabilities limit us to just more than 50,000 a day. It is a very difficult situation.

The reason for the increase is that many other can redemption centers have closed, and people are bringing cans from 40 miles away or more. The real question is: How can we make this system work? Why are all the other redemption centers closing? We believe this is due to the division of the can and bottle deposits. Under the current law, the redemption center earns one cent per can or bottle processed. The bottom line is that operating and maintaining a redemption center is a money-losing proposition under the current situation. Since the law was put in place 23 years ago, redemption centers have not seen an increase. The price of aluminum has almost doubled in that time, but centers don’t receive that increase — the distributors do. We are not asking the distributors to contribute more, but the system needs to be reviewed to prevent additional redemption centers from closing.

Tenco is here for the community. Our first priority is serving those with disabilities, and providing jobs to process cans is good for those we serve and for the community. However, we cannot continue to operate a can redemption center that loses money and risks all of our other operations. There is a way you can help. Donating your cans is one way, but more importantly, we will be looking for your support in our next legislative session to pass a change in rules that will allow all centers to retain two cents per can. Without this, many more centers will close.

Ben Wright

executive director

Tenco Industries, Inc.

Ottumwa

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