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What Does a Dealer Do?

DEC provides information on COVID-19 and Bottle Bill Container Redemption - Resumed June 3, 2020.

A "dealer" is every person, firm or corporation who engages in the sale of beverages in beverage containers to a consumer for off-premises consumption in New York State.

A retailer selling beverages in deposit containers for consumers to take away from the premises is considered a "dealer" and has the following rights and responsibilities:

Dealers must pay deposits to distributors when they purchase beverages and dealers must collect deposits from consumers when they sell beverages.

All beverage containers sold by a dealer must be properly labeled with the New York deposit information.

Dealers must refund the deposit on all containers of the type (brand, size, shape, color and composition) they sell for off-premises consumption, regardless of where the container was originally purchased.

Dealers must accept containers and pay refunds during all normal business hours. A dealer open less than 24 hours does not have to accept returns during the first and last hour of business.

Dealers, or their contracted sorting services (e.g. a redemption center), must sort containers for distributors. Distributors may require containers to be sorted by brand, by deposit amount and by whether or not the container is intended to be refilled.

The dealer, or whoever sorts the containers for distributors, is entitled to a 3.5 cent handling fee plus the deposit on every container returned to the distributor. Refunds and handling fees must be paid promptly.

A dealer or other beverage retailer who sells a beverage for on-premises consumption must pay a deposit on all beverages purchased but does not have to charge a deposit to people who consume the beverage on premises and do not keep the container.

Refusal of Acceptance of a Beverage Container

Dealers may refuse to accept the following:
- any container that does not properly indicate a refund value;
- broken bottles;
- corroded or dismembered cans;
- beverage containers that contain a free-flowing liquid;
- beverage containers that contain a significant amount of foreign material, such as paper, sticks or cigarette butts which are foreign to the original contents of the container. Small amounts of dust, dirt or moisture are allowed. Although helpful, containers do not have to be rinsed.

**A dealer must not knowingly redeem an empty beverage container on which a deposit was never paid in New York State.

Limits on Number of Containers Accepted

All dealers may limit the number of containers accepted from one person to 240 containers per visit ($12.00 per visit) or to 240 containers per day ($12.00 per day), but only if they have a sign posted stating this limit. This sign must also state that any redeemer may make 48 hour advance arrangements to redeem an unlimited number of empty beverage containers.

Dealers whose place of business is less than 10,000 square feet in size and whose primary business is the sale of food or beverages for off-premises consumption, may limit the number of containers redeemed per person per day to 72 containers, provided that:

- Dealers have a written agreement with a redemption center whose location is in the same county and within ½ mile of the dealer and whose hours of operation cover at least 9:00 a.m. through 7:00 p.m. daily. This agreement can be with a mobile redemption center, as long as the hours of operation cover at least four consecutive hours between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. daily and is located within ¼ from the dealer. The dealer must post a conspicuous, permanent sign, open to public view, identifying the location and hours of operation of the affiliated redemption center. The sign must be at least 8" x 10", with print at least ¼ inch size, in a color which contrasts with the background color; AND

- Dealers must offer, at a minimum, a consecutive two hour period between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. daily whereby they will accept up to 240 containers, per redeemer, per day. The dealer must post a conspicuous, permanent sign identifying these hours and may not change the hours of redemption without first posting a thirty day notice. The sign must be at least 8" x 10", with print at least ¼ inch size, in a color which contrasts with the background color.

Reverse Vending Machines (RVM)

A dealer must pay the refund value in legal tender, or a scrip or receipt from a reverse vending machine, provided that the scrip or receipt can be exchanged for legal tender for a period of not less than sixty days without requiring the purchase of other goods.
The use of RVMs does not relieve a dealer of its redemption responsibilities if the machines are broken or full.

Effective March 1, 2010, a dealer whose place of business is part of a chain engaged in the same general field of business under common ownership, which operates 10 or more stores in New York, must install and maintain a certain number of reverse vending machines based on the stores' square footage that is devoted to the display of merchandise for sale to the public. Such a dealer whose business is:

- 40,000 sq ft but less than 60,000 sq ft devoted to the display of merchandise for sale to the public must install at least 2 RVMs;
- 60,000 sq ft but less than 85,000 sq ft devoted to the display of merchandise for sale to the public must install at least 3 RVMs; or
- 85,000 sq ft or more devoted to the display of merchandise for sale to the public must install at least 4 RVMs.

This requirement does not apply to a store that:
- sells only beverage containers of 20 ounces or less that are packaged in quantities fewer than 6;
- devotes no more than 5 percent of its floor space to the display and sale of consumer commodities as defined in Section 214(h) of the Agriculture and Markets Law*;
- or obtains a waiver from the Commissioner authorizing an alternative technology. (See ECL § 27-1007 (1)(b) for further details on this waiver provision.)

* Agriculture & Markets Law, Section 214(h) defines "consumer commodities" as follows:
"Consumer commodities" shall mean the following, however packaged or contained:
(1) food, including all material, solid, liquid or mixed, whether simple or compound, used or intended for consumption by human beings or domestic animals normally kept as household pets and all substances or ingredients to be added thereto for any purpose; and
(2) napkins, facial tissues, toilet tissues, foil wrapping, plastic wrapping, paper toweling, disposable plates; and
(3) detergents, soaps and other cleansing agents; and
(4) non-prescription drugs, female hygiene products and toiletries.

Signs Requirements for Dealers

There are also sign requirements for dealers. Please see our webpage: Sign Requirements for Dealers for this information.