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Fareway to refuse to take redemptions, violating state law

Published: Jul. 24, 2020 at 2:29 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Fareway Grocery Stores announced it plans to violate state law and refuse to take bottle and can returns when a state exemption expires on Sunday.

Since the start of the Pandemic, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds exempted grocery stores from a state law requiring grocery stores which sell bottles and cans with a 5-cent deposit must also take redemptions. That exemption will end July 25th, meaning grocery stores will again be required to accept bottle and can returns.

Fareway, however, plans to ignore that law and says it will continue to not accept bottle and can returns at its stores, citing ongoing health concerns with COVID-19.

“Health authorities continue to advise that COVID-19 and other viruses are transmitted through respiratory droplets,” the company said in a release. “Accepting potentially contaminated containers inside our stores presents a great risk of harm to the health and safety of our employees and customers.”

Fareway argued the requirement to accept returns would run contrary to another state law requiring its stores follow health and safety guidelines.

“Allowing used containers to be returned in our stores puts our employees and customers at risk, and runs counterproductive to the many safety and sanitation initiatives we have implemented in order to keep people safe,” Fareway stated.

Fareway says each store has posted a list of nearby redemption centers, which are open, where customers can take bottle and can redemptions.

HyVee told KCRG-TV9 it plans to resume bottle and can collection at its stores on Sunday, coinciding with the expiration of the Governor’s proclamation.

Grocery stores have long opposed the state bottle bill and lobbied extensively to have it repealed during legislative sessions. The industry argues the process incurs needless cost for grocers.

Here is the full statement from Fareway:

Effective with the expiration of the Iowa Governor’s Emergency Declaration on July 25th, Fareway will not be accepting containers for redemption in its Iowa stores. Health authorities continue to advise that COVID-19 and other viruses are transmitted through respiratory droplets. Accepting potentially contaminated containers inside our stores presents a great risk of harm to the health and safety of our employees and customers.

In addition, Iowa law requires grocery stores to meet health and food safety guidelines for all employees and customers. Allowing used containers to be returned in our stores puts our employees and customers at risk, and runs counterproductive to the many safety and sanitation initiatives we have implemented in order to keep people safe.

Each store has posted a notice listing nearby redemption centers, where customers may redeem bottles and cans. We encourage local communities to focus their redemption on supporting these businesses and/or area non-profits that provide outside collection bins for donation.

At its core, our actions in rejecting container redemption inside our stores is to minimize potential harm to the communities we serve, while offering our customers alternative redemption options.

Reynolds W. Cramer, President & CEO, Fareway Stores, Inc.

Copyright 2020 KCRG. All rights reserved.

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