Nearly 100 independent beverage container redemption centers in the state are preparing to make improvements to their operations with grants from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
State officials hope the improvements will ultimately benefit Iowans with shorter wait times and increased convenience.
Vicki Kincer and her husband run redemption centers in Sheldon and Orange City that will split roughly $20,000 in grants. “Here in Sheldon, we are in bad need of a new roof for our building. We also need a new water heater,” Kincer said. She says they plan to add manual can counters at both locations and replace the engine in their collection truck.
“Without the grant funding, we didn’t know what we were going to do,” Kincer said of fixing the truck. “Between 60-and-75% of our business comes from doing pick-ups from consumers and businesses.” Don Franey owns a redemption center in Jefferson. He’s planning to add a part-time employee and make improvements to his building.
“We’re going to try to knock down our utilities bill by adding insulation and putting in a different furnace. Then, we’ll try to hire another person for 20 hours (a week) which will take about $7,500 a year,” Franey said. The redemption centers collect a penny on every can or bottle.
Franey says some of his monthly heating bills last year were in the $500 range, meaning he needed to redeem 50,000 cans just to cover the bill. A total of 93 redemption centers are splitting $965,000 in grants from the D.N.R.
A complete list of the centers that are receiving grants and their plans for the money is available via the D.N.R’s website .