Michigan bottle return system expands capacity Monday

All grocery stores, supermarkets, convenience stores, gas stations and reverse vending machines can reopen
Published: Oct. 5, 2020 at 7:22 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - Anyone still trying to get rid of a stockpile of empty bottles or cans should have an easier time beginning Monday.

The Michigan Department of Treasury moved to Phase 2 of its bottle return reinstatement plan, allowing more retailers with machines to accept empty beverage containers for a 10-cent refund.

All grocery stores, supermarkets, convenience stores, gas stations and retailers that have reverse vending machines are required to reopen their bottle return facilities Monday. Only stores with bottle return areas physically separate from the rest of the store could accept returns before this week.

Here are some of the requirements for stores and customers:

  • Customers are limited to no more than $25 worth of returns at a time.
  • Stores can only accept 140% of the bottle returns they took per day during April and May 2019.
  • There will be special or limited hours for returns.
  • Stores are allowed to close their bottle return areas for cleaning periodically through the day at their discretion.
  • All state mandated coronavirus orders remain in place, include mask requirements and capacity limits.

All Michigan bottle return facilities were closed from March to June 15 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Treasury Department estimates consumers accumulated $80 million worth of 10-cent returnable bottles during that time.

Some stores that require person-to-person contact for bottle returns are not allowed to reopen yet.

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