“It’s going to be a learning experience,” Baker said.
Not everyone was as diplomatic with proceeding on the new law. Gary Wickham was then the owner/manager of The Little Super market on Route 7 in Colliersville, and said he was thoroughly disgusted with all aspects of the new law, which would be an inconvenience to him and his customers.
“Where am I going to put all those bottles?” Wickham said. “What am I going to do with all the insects the empty bottles draw?”
For P&C food markets, the new law meant costs of $10,000 per store for the former chain’s 65 New York locations, to install counters and equipment to handle the bottle returns.
The new bottle law did have a beneficial impact on the area. It saved a glass recycling program that The Arc Otsego in Oneonta operated at the time. Fred Williams supervised the recycling program and with the new law, four new jobs were created. People had shown so little interest in bringing their glass in for recycling that Arc Otsego had considered closing the recycling facility.
The Arc Otsego then entered a contract with the Southern Tier Association for Recycling and was soon crushing glass taken from three daily truckloads delivered by STAR. The crushed glass was then shipped by the D&H Railway for further processing.
Not long after the law took effect on Sept. 12, the state Department of Environmental Conservation was out making sure the new law was being enforced. The Star reported on Tuesday, Sept. 20 that at least 15 area businesses had been issued written warnings by the DEC. Three officers had been in Otsego County since Sept. 12 making inspections.
“There’s a lot of grumbling,” said DEC Officer Jon F. Karker, who enforced the law in an area stretching from Cherry Valley to Milford, “but 95 percent of the people are behind it. You don’t see the bottles and cans on the roads.”