Opinion | Michigan’s recycling efforts dragged down by unfair deposit law

Nov. 30, 2018: This Michigan lawmaker is pushing a bill that will save his business $9,000

In April, Bridge Magazine wrote an article exploring Michigan’s abysmal recycling rate and declaring the state’s 10-cent deposit law on bottles and cans a “hands-down success.”

In fact, the opposite is true. Michigan’s recycling record is terrible because of the deposit law, not despite it.

Amy Drumm is vice president for government affairs of the Michigan Retailers Association and chairwoman of the Michigan Recycling Partnership, a task force of retailers, grocers and bottlers. Reach her at adrumm@retailers.com and follow her on Twitter: @adrumm.

We need only point to the many states that have no bottle deposit policies and much higher recycling rates than Michigan’s 15 percent. These include neighboring states Illinois (37 percent), Minnesota (43 percent), Pennsylvania and Wisconsin (both at 35 percent).


Bottle return rates have slowly dropped over the years, falling to 92 percent in 2016. That’s the lowest rate since tracking began in 1990, according to the Department of Treasury.

It’s clear consumers are becoming less enamored with taking their trash back to grocery stores and want more comprehensive and convenient recycling options.

The deposit law was passed in 1976 as an anti-litter measure at a time when recycling wasn’t really contemplated. The law addresses 2 percent of our waste. The responsibility has been shoved off onto bottlers and grocers, costing them $100 million annually, according to a Public Sector Consultants study. That same study found the state only spends $200,000 to support recycling efforts that have fallen markedly short.

A bill in the Legislature proposes expanding the law to water bottles. That would increase the burden on private industry by another $60 million to bring in just 2 percent more waste. Meanwhile, Michigan would continue to be awful at comprehensive recycling.

And consider this: Michigan uses three-quarters of the revenue gleaned from unclaimed deposits to pay for contaminated site cleanup, not recycling initiatives.

Municipalities could desperately use such revenue to educate residents, expand curbside pickup programs and improve community recycling centers, like other states that realized long ago that recycling is driven by convenience.

But a curbside cart cannot live on cardboard boxes alone. The deposit law takes valuable aluminum and PET plastics out of the cart and into grocery stores. If households put those recyclables into a curbside cart, that would add about 25 percent more value to the recycling stream.

It would also add efficiency to our current two-pronged recycling process: one method for bottles and cans, another for everything else. Michigan’s deposit law takes bottles and cans out of the regular stream, puts them in grocery stores, where they go to distributors who then send them off for recycling. So many touches for one little can. Wouldn’t it be more efficient to throw it into the curbside cart and send it directly to the recycler?

A comprehensive recycling plan also would relieve an unfair burden on grocery stores, which must make room for the recyclables and pay for the machines to accept them. Here’s the irony: While demanding sanitary conditions for our grocery stores, we force them to accept bottles and cans that contain cigarette ashes and worse.

After four decades of major changes in our economy and culture, it’s time for the anti-litter deposit law to be reexamined to keep up with the times and with other more environmentally successful states.

Bridge welcomes guest columns from a diverse range of people on issues relating to Michigan and its future. The views and assertions of these writers do not necessarily reflect those of Bridge or The Center for Michigan. Bridge does not endorse any individual guest commentary submission.

If you are interested in submitting a guest commentary, please contact Monica WilliamsClick here for details and submission guidelines.

Facts matter. Trust matters. Journalism matters.

If you learned something from the story you're reading please consider supporting our work. Your donation allows us to keep our Michigan-focused reporting and analysis free and accessible to all. All donations are voluntary, but for as little as $1 you can become a member of Bridge Club and support freedom of the press in Michigan during a crucial election year.

Pay with VISA Pay with MasterCard Pay with American Express Donate now

Comment Form

Add new comment

Dear Reader: We value your thoughts and criticism on the articles, but insist on civility. Criticizing comments or ideas is welcome, but Bridge won’t tolerate comments that are false or defamatory or that demean, personally attack, spread hate or harmful stereotypes. Violating these standards could result in a ban.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.


Wed, 05/02/2018 - 7:54am

I used to pick up returnable bottles and cans years ago when riding my bike around the Lansing area, while I don't do that anymore I'm still bike riding and I can tell you from my own informal observations that the amount of 10 cent deposit cans and bottles along the roadways has decreased markedly over the years, however there are plenty of plastic water bottles tossed aside. This I attribute to the deposit law and increase in drinking water and less sugary drinks being consumed. I'm not convinced that people will save their water bottles when driving to take home and recycle them rather than just tossing them out the window. A 10 cent deposit on them would be an incentive to get them recycled at least at a grocery store.

James Katakowski
Wed, 03/27/2019 - 9:12pm

I agree we need to get water bottles too. I do not see as many of those water bottles as I see little hard liquor plastic bottles around 2 or 3 oz. as well as 8oz. wine coolers plastic containers. Put 10 cents on them and they will get picked up by someone. I ran in Fla. and they have move trash bottles on sides of the highway than Mi.

Rabid Recycler
Wed, 05/02/2018 - 8:39am

Thank you for your thoughtful article. I couldn't agree more. It is a massive burden to return bottles and cans to the grocery store, and recycling - as you say - is always driven by convenience.

Wed, 05/02/2018 - 4:39pm

Why not just put your bottles and cans into the curbside bins and forget returning them to the store. It would solve your inconvenience issue, put money in state coffers, and keep plastic in the recycling stream. Win, win, win!

Wed, 05/02/2018 - 9:04am


Wed, 05/02/2018 - 9:04am


Wed, 05/02/2018 - 9:06am

Instead of eliminating the most successful aspect of Michigan's overall recycling efforts as this writer suggests, we should expand it, at a minimum, to single-serve containers of ALL beverages, including water, tea, juices, flavored milk, energy drinks, and blends of these. All Michigan's returnables get recycled, though not always in Michigan. I would make an exception only for the half-pint and pint cartons of milk commonly served in school lunches.

Paul Jordan
Sun, 05/06/2018 - 8:43am


Wed, 05/02/2018 - 9:28am

This is an interesting argument, but more data is needed. Are bottles and cans for which deposits are required being returned to retailers? How much does this add to the amount of recyclable materials being recycled?

Roger Cargill
Wed, 05/02/2018 - 2:20pm

Michigan has a 92 percent redemption rate, bottles and cans are most certainly returning to retail.

Wed, 05/02/2018 - 5:42pm

How much lower would our 92% return rate be if you took out all of the out-of-state containers illegally being returned in Michigan, just like the Seinfeld episode more than 20 years ago?

Jerry Seinfeld
Thu, 05/03/2018 - 9:39am

This is a good point. I deliver Pepsi and more of my customers are buying from people who bring up cases of pop from non deposit states in mini vans. There's a huge black market for out of state pop that artificially inflates the return rate.

Roger Cargill
Mon, 05/07/2018 - 8:54pm

The fraud rate has dropped significantly and all attempts to take the next step have been crushed by the wholesalers.

Dan Cable
Fri, 04/19/2019 - 7:57pm

This is correct. There was a law passed to mark deposit containers as having been sold in Michigan. After a lawsuit by the major bottling companies, the law went away. Did you ever wonder why bottles and cans from Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota all say Refund (10c MI) when those states don't even have a bottle deposit law? Ask Coke and Pepsi. They funded the lawsuit. Outside of the container labeling they have no skin in this game at all.

Karen Bednarek
Wed, 05/02/2018 - 9:30am

Recycling can only be enhanced with increased use of can and bottle deposit requirements, along with putting a deposit on water bottles and juice plastic containers.
One only has to go to states without deposit laws to witness the increased bottle and can littering the roadways, parks and city centers.
We do not need more litter!
We do need more recycling which seems un fortunately only to increase in places that have monetary incentives.

Bob Short
Wed, 05/02/2018 - 10:09am

Some of your criticism falls on the way the state uses, or mis-uses the monies. The other problem is that "curbside" is not available in many communities due to lack of available money in their budget.
A few years ago I ask a county commissioner about having a recycling location for large kitchen items, such as refrigerators . He said the county couldn't afford it. I told him their paying for it now as people dump them along country roads and the county has to pick them up.

Dan Moerman
Wed, 05/02/2018 - 10:12am

You've got to be kidding!! Did you ever visit a state park before we had the deposit law? Trash cans were spilling over with pop and beer cans and bottles. I canoed down the Pine River in those days, and my companion and I argued over whether there were more pop cans or beer cans in the bottom of the river. (I said beer; he said pop). Do an experiment. Put a refundable pop or beer bottle on your front porch. It will be gone and refunded by morning.

Wed, 05/02/2018 - 11:27am

As I have traveled around the country for decades, I have noticed a stark difference between states with deposit laws and those without them. It is very common to see loads of beverage containers along beautiful byways in many states that do not have a deposit on them. My only criticism of Michigan's deposit law has been its limitation to essentially carbonated beverages - which leaves wine, liquor and water bottles exempt. Those are the ones that I typically find discarded on roadsides in Michigan. A better solution would be to impose deposits on ALL beverage containers, encouraging consumers of those beverages to reap the reward of returning them to the stores.
As to the complaints by stores, I wonder how many additional "impulse" sales are generated by those returning containers - folks who must go through a checkout anyway to "cash in" their bottle receipts? And it's not like there is an unlevel playing field. Every store that sells the beverages has the same requirement to accept returns, bringing with them, the fresh opportunity to sell something to the returning customer.
Ms. Drumm's argument that recycling in Michigan suffers because of the deposit law appears to be deceptive. In one breath she decries the reduction in the recycling stream of materials from beverage cans and bottles, but shortly thereafter states "Michigan’s deposit law takes bottles and cans out of the regular stream, puts them in grocery stores, where they go to distributors who then send them off for recycling." Essentially, those materials are ALL being recycled - but, apparently the concern is about which entity gets to profit from recycling them.
I'm not sure Michiganders are as sloth-like as her opinion suggests, and that there is a need for the recycling path of beverage containers to be shunted to the curbside. There flaws with that approach: First, since beverage containers are generally “transportable” and often consumed away from home, eliminating the deposit on those containers would eliminate incentive for many people to properly dispose of them, diverting their waste to the roadsides of our lovely state; Secondly, having those bottles and cans wind up on the landscape will do nothing to assure that they will ever make it to the recycling stream.
As to her concerns about a dearth of recyclable materials, beyond cardboard, despite attempts to buy as sustainably as possible, the amount of recyclable plastics I recycle at curbside is significant. My ratio of trash to recyclables has gone from about 4:1 (when recycling first began) to 1:4, and that doesn’t look like an anomaly as I drive through the neighborhood.
I am happy to have recycling be a profitable venture for those who do it. Disposal and recycling of what we consume are costs that a civil society must bear. To that end, I don’t think it is wise to craft deposit laws around the boosting of profits for one industry.

Kevin R
Wed, 05/02/2018 - 3:32pm

So much this:

As to the complaints by stores, I wonder how many additional "impulse" sales are generated by those returning containers - folks who must go through a checkout anyway to "cash in" their bottle receipts? And it's not like there is an unlevel playing field. Every store that sells the beverages has the same requirement to accept returns, bringing with them, the fresh opportunity to sell something to the returning customer

Wed, 05/02/2018 - 5:45pm

Please take me to your recycler who is running a profit!

Sun, 05/06/2018 - 9:36am

Just FYI, there is actually a cash market for those recycled paper and plastic materials. Those items can be sold for a few cents per pound to local processing operations, which helps to offset the costs of collection and transportation. Additionally, trash haulers often either charge an additional fee for picking up recycling or they factor the cost into their monthly/quarterly/yearly fees. They are in the business for a reason - and it's not to be philanthropic.

Michigan Newbie
Wed, 05/02/2018 - 11:38am

Biggest issue I have is retailers here do not always accept every container that has a 10 c deposit. I live in the city of Detroit and only have paper recycling readily available in my building so to drive out to the 'burbs to return beer bottles we purchase at local establishments is not only a hassle but a waste of gas. We do it anyway but then find major retailers' bottle return systems will not accept... Yes, we were told to find a manager but really? If a consumer pays the fee, the entities collecting it really need to accept the container and provide the refund with as little hassle as possible.

Thu, 05/03/2018 - 9:16pm

Easy solution, take your bottles back to where you bought them. Retailers are required to take only the bottles of the beverages they sell. Sound fair.

Wed, 05/02/2018 - 11:48am

This is laced with the anti-bottle return rhetoric of the Retail association that employs the writer. She utterly fails to mention the recycling rate for returnable containers is outstanding. She fails to mention that retailers make millions selling the packages that they do not want to handle afterword. Could the bottle return law be better? Sure, but by expanding it, not doing away with it.

Stephen C Brown
Wed, 05/02/2018 - 1:00pm

Interesting, but she neglects to point out that on the whole, PET bottle recycling is about 32% across the country. The fact that MI gets over 92+% return rates from bottles that have deposits shows that the economic incentive is a huge driver for consumers. In states with $.05 deposit, the rate is closer to 68%, so the higher value definitely leads to higher return rates. Consumers in MI have gotten used to the system, and while not necessarily convenient, has become a way of life, much like those that bring their own bags for reuse, or others that bring in plastic bags for recycling. Sure, it might be easier to throw out, but sometimes training consumers to do the right thing makes more sense. The fact that Michigan retailers already segregate PET, glass bottles, and aluminum cans also leads to a much cleaner stream of material collected from retailers than typically achieved in MRF facilities. Bottle producers love getting glass from MI because it’s a very clean stream. The carbon impact for recycling a can is about 95% less than if mining new aluminum…..the fact that we don’t already capture more cans – largely in other states – truly is an environmental travesty.

Wed, 05/02/2018 - 2:26pm

This is disingenuous nonsense. If you look at the plastic litter found along our roads and elsewhere, you'll see that it consists almost entirely of containers exempted from deposits. The bottles and cans with deposits are obviously being recycled, and the fact that they're being collected by stores rather than curbside collection is a meaningless distinction from an environmental perspective.

If the owners of grocery store chains want to argue that they're carrying an unfair burden of the cost, let them make *that* argument, rather than the dishonest pile of unrecycled farm waste that this essay consists of.

Wed, 05/02/2018 - 3:27pm

Well said! I pick up returnables from the roadside frequently...although I pick up some trash, I can only carry so much, so have to leave a lot of the water, juice, and ice tea bottles lying there.

Highway Adopter
Wed, 05/02/2018 - 5:49pm

Todd, please adopt a highway. You will not find more containers without a deposit than you find containers with deposit. I guarantee it. Facts, though sometimes annoying, are important.

Thu, 05/03/2018 - 1:25pm

Prove you wrong Highway Adopter! I live on a 5 lane road and never get a return deposit bottle or container i my lawn or driveway apron. But water bottles, non deposit liquor, juice, etc all the time.

C. Kutz
Wed, 05/02/2018 - 3:58pm

Rabid Recycler:
I am hoping that your "massive burden" comment about returning cans/bottles to a retailer is sarcasm. If it is not, you must be a really low-energy recycler. Please explain why you consider taking returnabless to the grocery store such an odious, massively draining task. If you are having difficulty getting into a routine, there are plenty of eager kids who can explain it to you. Please be joking.

Wed, 05/02/2018 - 5:54pm

Careful, C. Kurtz. You're going to throw out your elbow patting yourself on the back for returning your bottles and cans. Congrats, you've done your part for 2% of the waste stream at the expense of the other 98%.

Scott Roelofs
Wed, 05/02/2018 - 4:53pm

I say leave the system alone. Government meddling with the deposit law will only make it worse. I have yet to visit a clean returnables station in a grocery store. The bacteria stench is awful; the floors and equipment are sticky. A truly unhealthy situation in our food stores. Now imagine an expanded returnable law where dairy product or food product containers are included. Returnable water bottles may be clean, but the numbers will overwhelm the system.

Dan Cable
Fri, 04/19/2019 - 8:11pm

The addition of returnable water bottles to the deposit system will most certainly not overwhelm the system. How do I know this? Numerous interviews with retailers large and small in various areas of the state both urban and rural ; and interviews with the companies who are actually processing the deposit system materials for recycling. This does not mean there won't be some problems in some places but the vast majority of retailers won't be impacted to an overwhelming extent at all. It's just not so.

Wed, 05/02/2018 - 5:03pm

She says that the bottle law isn't working. All I know from driving many states is that the roadsides in Michigan are cleaner than the roadsides in other states without deposit laws. Even "green" states like Colorado have more beverage containers in their roadside ditches than Michigan does.

Highway Adopter
Wed, 05/02/2018 - 5:39pm

I'd encourage those who believe that our highways would be littered without the deposit to check out some Adopt-A-Highway signs as you drive around Michigan. Get in contact with an organization listed as a sponsor and ask if you can join them in July when they next hit the ditches. Count the containers you pick up and you will undoubtedly find more deposit containers than you will find water, teas, and juices without the deposit. It may take a little work, but it's a claim you can test yourself.

Bob Dunn
Wed, 05/02/2018 - 6:13pm

After returning from Guatemala and seeing all the plastic bottles and bags along the side of the roads, in the yards, and most places you look I am glad we were a leader in establishing a deposit on bottles. We need to move our efforts up in charging a fee and include all bottles, plastic, tin, glass, dishwasher containers, and any container that contains these materials. I think our goal ought to be producing all items that are non-consumable be made out of recyclable material.

Jesus Salvador
Thu, 05/10/2018 - 3:52pm

Amen. To the readers, Google images of discarded plastic water bottles in the Dominican Republic. That's what touristy "Pure Michigan" will look like soon. While there may be little appetite to tax Nestle for exploiting Michigan water, there should be a big appetite to put a deposit law in place, say $.50 a bottle. I doubt that would "hurt" poor people in Flint because they should get FREE water until Snydly fixes his damage. Moreover, the people people of Flint and elsewhere can get back the deposits on the water and buy FOOD/MEDICINE, other things they probably can't afford, but need. I LOVE MI's DEPOSIT LAW, EXPAND IT. Eventually all Michiganders will demand stricter REGULATIONS on their tap water, rather than rely on the weak or nonexistent regulations on bottled water (false sense of security). Bridge, please, report on this horrendous situation in Michigan with discarded plastic water bottles and the connection with Nestle's rape of our natural resources! With education, we can demand change!
Hey hey ho ho, Nestle has to GO!

Lakeside Terri
Wed, 05/02/2018 - 10:18pm

Didn't many others notice "vice president for government affairs of the Michigan Retailers Association and chairwoman of the Michigan Recycling Partnership, a task force of retailers, grocers and bottlers." I expect more from Bridge than parroting what seems like a fancy name for a lobbyist! Usually you do more research yourself.

We have the systems in place, let's use it and figure out how to make it more effective. I agree that they should be expanded so that the non-returnables stay off the roadside. And as many have noted, not everyone has curbside recycling.

Wed, 05/02/2018 - 10:19pm

Every week I walk around my neighborhood on recycling day and see boxes, papers,etc. along with regular trash. People have convenient curbside recycling and they still don't do it. We need deposits on plastic bottles. All of them!!! Maybe that would get them to do it .

Thu, 05/03/2018 - 8:54am

The bottle deposit law is outdated. Anyone who thinks spending $100 million on capturing 2% of the waste stream is delusional. We have the highest bottle deposit in the nation but the worst recycling rate.

I Love Recycling
Thu, 05/03/2018 - 8:58am

I think we should put a deposit on everything. I also believe people are motivated by financial incentive so all beverage containers should have a deposit of $1. We should put a deposit on cardboard boxes, food containers, electronics... everything should have a deposit and for bigger items like a TV it should be a deposit of $100.

Thu, 05/03/2018 - 12:31pm

Amy makes an excellent point from an informed perspective. If MI was serious about comprehensive recycling it would not be by expanding a flawed bottle deposit approach.
State and local entities need to fund comprehensive recycling. Quit picking winners and losers by saddling the bottle and can retailers with a burden that other sellers of recyclable material or products don't have. If we want to be a model for recycling, fund a bounty for recyclables at local recycling centers. Scrap steel, cardboard, bottles, cans and plastic should be purchased at municipal funded recycling centers. My point; there are better alternatives.

Jesus Salvador
Thu, 05/10/2018 - 3:59pm

LOL That seems to work so well with stolen vehicles and chop-shops, not to mention thefts of copper plumbing by scrappers. Sorry, your ideas have been tried and failed miserably. Be honest, you only care about personal greed and not the common good. Ayn Rand is dead and she lived on social security. LOL The free market is not FREE, taxpayers always have to foot the bill. Ask FIAT Chrysler what happened to all its brown-fields and toxic waste. They got the bailout with OUR tax dollars and WE got their toxic waste to clean. Such a deal! Winners and losers? Yeah, taxpayers lost to billionaires, AGAIN. Poor retailers that choose to sell beverages packaged in trash. Boo hoo.

Thu, 05/03/2018 - 9:23pm

Seriously, get rid of the one aspect that works because it is s BURDON on the group that creates the problem!? No we should push the cost onto the government and public instead of having the companies that profit from it pay. Horse feathers!

What do you expect from the business lobbyists though. It isn't 'business friendly' to have companies actually internalize the COST of the product they sell. We should let them foist the cost off on the public and inflate THEIR profits instead!

Horse feathers. ...

D. Hall
Fri, 05/04/2018 - 7:02am

We here in the UP have had essentially no access to recycling AT ALL until Houghton and Hancock initiated a voluntary recycling program two years ago. Up until then EVERYTHING went to the landfill other than the containers returned to grocers because of the "bottle bill." Only a few communities in the entire UP have recycling!!!
MI has an abysmal recycling rate for many reasons, but the primary one is that recycling is viewed by most residents as a "burden" rather than a "responsibility." It is that FREE TO BE ME attitude. Lets face it, environmental consciousness in MI lags the entire nation; just toss it in the woods or the lake, nobody will see it again! Flint water? What problem? This mentality comes partially because many residents in MI have never left the state so they have never EXPERIENCED anything different than what they already know; some places in the country recycle nearly 80% of their waste stream!! The MI way of doing things mentality comes partially from a century of our reliance on heavy industry and its importance to the state economy. Jobs were more important than the environment. It comes from the psychology of poverty created by the deindustrialization and gutting of our state economy, and the resultant population loss. Many MI residents have a ghetto mentality which condemns them to believe things will always get worse (not better) so why care about anything, including the waste they create? The MI environment has suffered the consequences of this mindset for more than a century. The AVERAGE state in the nation recycles almost 35% of its waste, and in MI it is an appalling 15%! What example are we setting for our children and for visitors? WI REQUIRES waste haulers to provide recycling to every address in the state. Other states too, and have decided to NOT grow their landfills which eventually become superfund sites. MI residents landfill over $500 million dollars of recyclables EVERY YEAR! The state government sits on its hands and does nothing because many residents do not give a hoot about the environment, only their bottom line. Businesses complain it is not their responsibility to "do the right thing" because it costs them money. It is a ME ONLY mentality and unfortunately the environment and recycling is about WE.
The bottle bill IS inconvenient and cumbersome to businesses and customers as this writer claims and there are better ways to improve recycling rates FOR ALL OF OUR WASTE STREAM, not just containers. Businesses should be assessed a tax on the containers they sell and this money should be used for recycling programs throughout the state, especially in unserved areas like the UP. The state need to contribute more to recycling programs too. MI lawmakers should pass legislation like that in WI REQUIRING ALL waste haulers to provide recycling to EVERY customer they serve. Some MI counties already do this and these have good recycling rates. The cost of LANDFILLING should go up as well which would ENCOURAGE people and businesses to recycle their waste and to create LESS of it. . MI has a lot to offer but our appalling recycling rate is a scar on us all, and this acts to depresses our economy. People who have lived other places which have good recycling programs see this as a "quality of life" issue. Many would not even think about moving to a place that lacks environmental consciousness. MI could do better. VOTE IN NOVEMBER.

Tim Draeger
Fri, 05/04/2018 - 7:31am

Are you insane? Or just sell yourself?

Joseph Houston
Fri, 05/04/2018 - 5:53pm

My job keeps me on the road and during my travels I get to see a lot highways. The one thing I see on every road in every part of the nation is plastic. I say get rid of petroleum based plastics and use biodegradable products. Michigan roads are much cleaner than most and it is because of our return policies.

Ray Vingdog
Sat, 05/05/2018 - 4:03pm

This sounds really heroic. I see so many of those indigent people collecting deposit containers from trash cans and dumpsters! They make enormous sums of money from them and do not pay enough in taxes! It's time to put a stop to this and end the plunder! Repeal the deposit law now!

P. Heilemann
Sat, 05/05/2018 - 4:16pm

The National Conference of State Legislatures website states that 25% if the funds left over from the container deposits goes to "retailers". I just don't see anything wrong with using the rest of that money to clean up pollution.

Paul Jordan
Sun, 05/06/2018 - 8:45am

An article by a lobbyist for retail stores criticizing bottle deposits is like a cat lobbyist criticizing dogs. It is meaningless.
How about articles on important subjects written by people with no vested personal interest in them? That would be a lot more informative.

Wed, 11/28/2018 - 6:57pm

No. Do not repeal this law. The voters approved this law back in 1976. FINAL ANSWER.

Repeal Bottle Bill
Tue, 12/04/2018 - 3:02pm

I have curbside single stream recycling in my county and I pay an assessment on my property tax for that service because the aluminum cans and PET containers go back through a dedicated channel and the contracted processor cannot turn a profit on the material collected at the curb. Why do I need to pay a dime on all carbonated beverage containers purchased in Michigan when I should be able to put them in the single stream curbside container? Instead, we are forced to participate in an archaic captive model that is not recycling. The deposit containers never enter the waste stream and are not measured as a recycled commodity under the law and legal definition of recycling. People think they are recycling when all they are doing in hindering comprehensive curbside recycling.

Perhaps you should consider the dedicated trucks that pick up the empty containers at large stores like Walmart and Meijer. They literally travel millions of miles each year. Not a very lite carbon footprint. In addition, the distributors' trucks dropping off full containers at stores must leave room for empties which means more trucks to run the same routes. What is the GHG and safety impact of more trucks on the road?

Follow the money...Material processors like Schupan & Sons and the folks that sell the reverse vending machines, TOMRA, have cornered the material generated from the bottle bill business in Michigan through exclusive contracts with the Michigan Soft Drink Association and the Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association. They contract with Lansing lobbyist and donate heavily to PACs and legislators to keep this exclusive arrangement in place. Still think you're recycling, or, are you just padding the coffers of a few tightly held arrangements?

If it such a sound system in Michigan, how long has it been since another state has burdened their citizens with this outdated and flawed process for material control of the valued commodities? Google Delaware and Massachusetts Bottle Bills when you have time to catch up. Check out California and their financially failed systemic and inherent container deposit system woes while you're at it.

When should we stop transporting harmful bacteria laced, insect and rodent infested beverage containers back to our food source and just enter them into curbside single stream recycling? Stop the idiocy and repeal the highly flawed Michigan deposit system. Call your state legislators today. I just did.

P.S. If it is such a terrific system, why are water bottles not included in Michigan?

Tom Llewellyn
Sun, 04/07/2019 - 2:31pm

After several decades of green initiatives, it is clear that Michigan's deposit law is hurting the state's success in dealing with these daily discards. Michigan is one of only four states to have a bottle deposit program; but rather than helping it is now hurting the state's recycling efforts by draining the financial heart out of the recycling business.
Another severe blow occured last year when China dramatically reduced their import of our scrap materials. As a result of these market pressures, waste/recycling businesses are in real trouble, especially in Michigan. The direct result, communities are now being charged a lot more for pick-up services.
People want to recycle these days. A simpler and more comprehensive way to recycle will get Michigan back on track to maximum recycling effort.
It is time to repeal the bottle deposit and expand recycling to ALL residential and COMMERCIAL customers.
I recycle an equal amount each week to that of my regular trash. We could encourage more residential recycling and offer recycling containers that are the same size as regular trash cans. Many other states use equally sized containers and it works out fine.

Thu, 02/06/2020 - 7:42pm

The nearest recycling place for paper,plastic ,cardboard is 20 minutes from me.We don't have curb side recycling.I am not wasting my gas.I do however recycle all types of metal for some money its not much but i always get enough to make driving to the place worth it.