State urges patience with bottle returns operating a max capacity

Michigan consumers stockpiled 800 million containers worth $80 million during the 11-week shutdown
Bottle return facilities in Michigan began reopening on June 15.
Bottle return facilities in Michigan began reopening on June 15.(WJRT)
Published: Jul. 7, 2020 at 2:20 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - State officials are urging patience as the 10-cent bottle return system works at maximum capacity after a nearly three-month shutdown.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer closed all bottle return facilities statewide on March 24 as coronavirus began spreading widely in Michigan.

The Michigan Department of Treasury estimates residents stockpiled 800 million beverage containers over 11 weeks, which are worth $80 million in deposit refunds. Since reopening some bottle return facilities on June 15, the system has been working at peak capacity.

The first phase of reopening bottle returns involves only stores with separate facilities at the front that are walled off from other shoppers. The Treasury Department plans to allow more returns at more facilities as coronavirus conditions allow.

The Treasury Department imposed a limit on the number of beverage containers that each retailer can accept to protect the system’s logistics. They are limited to 140% of the number of bottle returns they accepted last year.

Customers are limited to returning 250 beverage containers each day worth $25.

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy encourages customers to call their local store before heading out to bottle return facilities and find out the best times to come.

Everyone in line at bottle return facilities is advised to wear a mask or face covering and practice social distancing by remaining six feet apart.

Copyright 2020 WJRT. All rights reserved.

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