When going to return bottles for a five-cent deposit at a large supermarket, multiple issues can come up.
There’s can be a limit for how many bottles can be returned, machines can break, and the lines can be lengthy. Dave Oakes tries to counteract all of those pitfalls at his redemption center in Carmel, called Quick & Easy Bottle Return in Carmel, near the bowling alley on Old Route 6. The center has been open for two months.
Oakes said he offers customers no machines, no counting, and no lines. All customers need to do is bag it and bring it, with Quick & Easy Center staff doing the rest. There is no fee assessed.
“Just come here, we do all the work for you,” he said. “The process is very simple.”
Oakes, who works for the Carmel highway department as a diesel mechanic, runs the business with his wife, who will work at the deposit center during the week. Oakes is primarily there during the weekends.
He grew up in Carmel and is known by many folks in town.
Oakes said people from “all walks of all life” come to the return center to cash in on the empty bottles they have. In some cases, Oakes has seen customers bring not just hundreds, but thousands of bottles, to the center, making a decent amount in exchange.
“Carmel needed something like this to make it easier for the residents,” Oakes said.Oakes noted that only bottles that contain a carbonated drink (soda, seltzer) or water are allowed to be returned for the five cents. Bottles with milk, juice, and ice tea aren’t accepted, per state law. He doesn’t care if it’s store brand or where it was purchased, as long as it says “NY5” on the can or bottle, he’ll take it.
Oakes decided to open the business after a friend of his with centers in Dutchess County motivated him to look into the venture. Before that, Oakes never really considered opening up his own place. Now, one day he might have more places.
“You never know,” Oakes said. “Got to see how it goes.”