Turning food stamps to cash with bottle deposits

Everyone’s creative. Showing off their entrepreneurial spirit in many states around the country, some recipients are turning their federal government-provided food stamps into cash by purchasing inexpensive cases of bottled water, dumping out the water in the parking lot, and turning in the bottles for cash at the same store.

From the Bangor Daily News, with my emphasis in bold. Who said we were failing our population when it comes to math skills?

The Bangor couple, a 23-year-old man and a 17-year-old female who turned 18 on Sunday, told the investigating officer that they had purchased two cases of water with funding provided by the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as the Food Stamp Program.

“They openly said they were dumping water” for the value of the returnables, Sgt. Paul Edwards said Monday. “They said they didn’t think there was anything wrong with that.”

The bottled water cost around $6 and the duo got $2.40 back in cash from the redeemed bottles.

More and more states, including Connecticut, have expanded their “bottle bills” to include deposits for bottled water. You can easily purchase a case of water (24, 16.9 oz. bottles) for $6 – or much less if you buy on sale – and you’ll need to pay between $1.20 and $2.40 for the deposit on top of the cost of the case.

Of course, the government-funded assistance program that allows food stamps to be used to purchase bottled water and other beverages, covers the cost of the deposits. Recipients can keep the cash collected when the bottles are returned.

Only 10 of 50 states currently have bottle bills so the problem is not wide-spread, but I’m betting Michigan, with it’s 10 cent per container bottle bill, is experiencing waves of water flowing through the streets. Enter your Seinfeld reference here.

Want to solve the issue? Eliminate all the bottle bills currently in place in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, California, Michigan, Vermont, Oregon, New York, Iowa and Hawaii. We have recycling programs in all of these states and most even have single-stream programs. I say just drop the bottles into your recycle bin and be done with it, but there is money to be made…

6 replies
  1. Murphy
    Murphy says:

    Remember first the Government of Connecticut Hijacked uncollected bottle deposits? (TAX!)
    then a little while later they saw a way to collect more TAXES and? they took the perfectly recyclable (evil) water bottles and placed the deposit on them.
    It’s all about more money, more government, more power.

    • phil
      phil says:

      Which is why I return every possible can/bottle to put the nickles in MY pocket instead of (currently) Malloy’s pocket.

  2. NH-Jim
    NH-Jim says:

    I have been pushing for the elimination of the bottle law for years now.? In addition to the cost of the abuse of the redemption and food stamp fraud, there are other costs which most folks don’t think about.
    1. Every retailer (package store, grocery store, etc.) must provide square footage to store the bottles for the distributor’s truck driver to collect.? They pay property taxes on this storage space that could be better used for something that makes them real money.
    2. The distributor must have more trucks and routes because the redeemables take up valuable space in the trucks that could be used for deliverable goods only.? More fuel spent, more pollution, cancel out the environmental benefits of the bottle law.
    3. The pestilence attracted by the sugary residues creates a health issue for grocery stores.? Do you want cock roaches roaming through your local shop.
    4. We all already pay for recyclable pic-up or travel to our local transfer station to dump our cans, papers, cardboard, etc.? Why can we not be trusted to do the same with soda cans, beer bottles and water…

    • Murphy
      Murphy says:

      I never understood why Connecticut doe not have Redemption centers. Oops that’s right small business is evil, only big business has unions to bribe the politicians.

  3. Lynn
    Lynn says:

    Steve, I missed your posts. This one is a hoot! The party that has given us low water toilets ( Rand Paul, “my toilets don’t flush” , love him too Crystal) has given us live off our “wealth” leeches who actually POUR out water on the ground. They obviously have not been brainwashed long enough.?

  4. BEA
    BEA says:

    I don’t know, this just really disgusts me…this type of mentality. I would love to see people like this actually do something to help themselves instead of just standing there with their hands out saying, “Give me more.”
    And the fact that they WASTED $6 worth of water really irks?me!?It didn’t cost them anything so they don’t care.
    I would love to hear that they went?dumpster diving and scouring the parks for all the empty water bottles and soda cans??They’d get a lot more than $2.40. Or go up and down the streets on bulk trash pick up days and take some decent looking items, clean them up, and sell them. At least then they would then be?putting forth some effort to?help themselves.

Comments are closed.