The Department of Environmental Protection and the attorney general's office will resume enforcement of beverage container redemption requirements starting next week.
On June 5, enforcement will resume under specific guidelines at retail locations that utilize bottle return machines. Enforcement at locations that accept bottles over the counter will resume June 19.
State regulations generally require retailers to accept for redemption all containers that carry the five-cent deposit and are the same size, type and brand that they sell, or face potential penalties.
In March, DEP and the attorney general's office announced they would pause enforcement of the requirement for retailers to accept beverage containers that have a deposit. That was to give grocers, supermarkets and other retail operations time and space to adjust their staffing to meet the demand of consumers stockpiling food and beverages for their extended time at home.
The Department of Revenue reported collecting $5.57 million in unredeemed bottle deposits in March, up from $4.17 million in March 2019. The year-to-year uptick in abandoned deposits last month represented more than a third of revenue growth in this area for the year, and it occurred in just one month when an additional 28 million bottles and cans went unredeemed.