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…