Reynolds to temporarily close HI-5 redemption centers statewide

There is a hold on your ability to get to a redemption center to recycle at least for now. The state’s largest beverage container recycler Reynolds Recycling will not be collecting bottles and cans beginning Thursday, and there is no definite date on when it can resume.

Reynolds says the state owes the company more than a million dollars, and without that money it cannot keep most of its staff on the job, about 100 people. That means no one will be manning the 35 redemption centers statewide on Thursday.

The so-called HI-5 recycling program works this way. When you show up at a redemption center with your items, a company like Reynolds pays you on the spot. The company will then turn to the state for reimbursement. Normally, Reynolds will get a check from the State Department of Health in 10 days. But not this time.

“The state thought they may be able to get us payment today (Wednesday),” said Bruce Iverson, the Director of Marketing and Development for Reynolds. “Obviously, they didn’t. So it is going to be taking effect tomorrow at all the Reynolds locations statewide.”

The 35 Reynolds redemption centers statewide will be closed Thursday, so anyone who shows up will not be able to redeem any of their recyclables. Iverson says he believes this is all due to some kind of accounting glitch. He says the State did not tell him exactly when Reynolds would be paid. The State says it hopes it will be in a day or two.

“We’ve been working with Reynolds on the operation of the redemption centers for several years now,” said Janice Okubo, spokeswoman for the State Department of Health, which runs the HI-5 program. “And we hope that we can work out any difficulties or challenges to keep the centers open.”

Reynolds is emphasizing that it is not shutting down. About 40 of its various office and management staff statewide will report for work on Thursday. Reynolds says its just that the company cannot collect any new recyclables until it is paid for the ones it has already collected.

Reynolds says the company may not be the only one affected by the State’s inability pay vendors. The company says Reynolds has significantly larger reach and more locations – and my be the first vendor to feel the pinch.

“Obviously this is a temporary closure,” said Iverson. “We are working to have our locations open as quickly as possible.” Iverson went on to say that “if the state is not able to get payment, it will be a bit longer.”

Iverson added that if the state is able somehow to pay Reynolds first thing in the morning, the company may just be able to open the redemption centers sometime Thursday. While Reynolds has the largest redemption network, the State could not tell us if other recyclers are affected.

Click here for a list of Reynolds Recycling redemption centers.

If you need an alternate site, click here for a complete state-wide list of redemption centers.

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