Can/bottle recycler assists community organizations
By Jennifer Pauly
Niagara River Chamber of Commerce President
The Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the Porter Empty Return Center as recipient of the Ransomville Business of the Year Award.
The Ransomville Business and Professional Association assists the chamber in providing a business nomination that has showed dedication and service to the Ransomville community.
The Porter Empty Return Center brings recycling options to the surrounding communities as well as assisting in supporting more than 40 local organizations obtain their fundraising goals.
Many know Doug Adamson as one who works with computers and programing, but over the past two years he's become known as the "can guy!"
As owner of the Porter Empty Return Center and Scot PC Systems, his collective businesses are now known as The Porter Center, with the return center quickly taking over the business complex over the past two years. His experience in computer/electronic recycling, as well as a background working at Certo Brothers, led Adamson to bring more recycling options to Ransomville, Lewiston, Wilson, Youngstown and beyond. The Ransomville location is a cross point for several communities that proves to be a benefit for his business.
Empty Return Center employs four through the winter and will likely double that
number as summer nears. Doug's wife, Linda, and daughter, Mackenzie, also work
to grow the business.
With the can/bottle return concept only requiring a small area to start, Adamson opened the business in 2014 from the side of the building at 3628 Ransomville Road where the Care & Share food pantry is now located.
In 2015, the operation grew and Adamson moved the business one storefront over to the present location just next door. It provides more room, with the return area found front and center with plenty of counter space. Scot PC Systems is enclosed in a separate area off to the right, complete with windows made from the old cooler panes from the former Porter Country Mart.
Educating the public and organizations on how to turn their cans, bottles and plastics into money is a priority to Adamson and his staff. When people throw their can/bottle into a regular recycling bin, while the container will be recycled, the five-cent deposit is lost. Eighty percent of unclaimed deposits are kept by New York state, while the distributor keeps the remaining 20 percent.
Unclaimed five-cent deposits can become millions over time. The staff of the Porter Empty Return Center collects and sorts your cans/bottles into specific bags and containers that are picked up by Bics/Tomra, a recycle collection company in Lancaster, which then bills each distributor for the deposits.
With that back-end process taken care of, the focus of Porter Empty Return Center is on reducing landfills through the reuse of plastics, metals and glass. The staff informs visitors that the deposits they pay when purchasing a beverage are the consumer's. And returning empties is a great way to teach the community the value of how nickels become dollars, which, saved over time, add up. One customer was able to collect enough empties over the course of a year to save $2,500 for a down payment on a car. Monthly coupons can be found online as well as in the Lewiston-Porter Sentinel.
More than 40 local organizations have accounts at the Porter Empty Return Center. All receive more than the normal five cents per can/bottle. Customers can bring in their empties and have the funds go directly to that organization's account.
Group accounts are available to anyone, with checks cut upon request. Those looking to donate to a group can view the list at www.theportercenter.com, call 716-791-1113, or stop in during operating hours, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Monday.
There is no limit on the size of accepted can and bottle returns. And they don't even have to be spotless. Cans and bottles are accepted from picnics, parties and festivals.
Adamson designs special empty-return canisters for events. The signature blue cardboard triangular bins feature a visible return area, making cleanup and accessing the cans/bottles easy and mess-free. The bins can be found in local schools and firehalls, as well as at local businesses and institutions. These canisters will soon be incorporated into a recycling program at Mount St. Mary's Hospital and Health Center.
The Porter Empty Return Center has assisted many organizations in raising funds. The recycling concept has taken on a community meaning at the Porter Empty Return Center, with thousands of dollars raised to support local nonprofit organizations and charities. In addition, this year will see the first-ever P.E.R.C. Scholarship awarded to a local high school graduate. Adamson and his staff have created a business that adds to the quality of life in the community and allows people to give back. It is his hope that the next step in his business will be to grow the number of organizations that can be supported from empty can/bottle return.
The Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce and the Ransomville Business and Professional Association proudly congratulate Porter Empty Return Center as the 2016 Ransomville Business of the Year.