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More than 700,000 gallons of unused NYS hand sanitizer to be discarded in Rochester



Rochester, New York – ‘NYS Clean’ hand sanitizer will be brought to Rochester to be discarded.

During the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, more than 700,000 gallons of hand sanitizer was made by state prison inmates in 2020, costing taxpayers $4.3 million.

The state is now paying Kodak more than $2 million to bring the unused product to Rochester, where it will be distilled for use in manufacturing. The process is expected to take about 10 months.

The sanitizer has been sitting on an old airport tarmac in Oriskany, Oneida County, just outside Utica. It’s expected to arrive at the Eastman Business Park this week. “It’s outrageous,” said Vicki Milne of Rochester. “I think everything is going onto taxpayers right now, and that’s not right.”

According to Assemblyman Harry Bronson, Tuesday was the first he had heard about the issue. He said taxpayers will likely be on the hook for the cost of shipping the sanitizer and getting rid of it. “Tax dollars are for the public good,” Bronson said. “It’s not my fault that there are potholes in the streets, but I pay for them.”

The extra hand sanitizer should have gone to places in need, like hospitals, child care centers, and schools, before it expired, Brett Wilkins of Rochester said. “Personally, I don’t think it’s fair that us who didn’t make that mistake should have to pay for something,” he said.

According to Milne, she was left with more questions than answers. “What are they going to do at Kodak?” she asked. “How are they going to get rid of it? Well, that’s another question. How exactly are they going to get rid of it?”