Michigan's bottle return law would expand, streamline under new bills

Michigan's 10-cent bottle return law would expand to include more than alcohol and carbonated beverages under new legislation in the state House and Senate.
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LANSING (WJRT) (12/11/2019) - Michigan's bottle return law would expand to include more beverage containers under new bills introduced to the state House and Senate.

But consumers would be able to return cans and bottles for their 10-cent refund at more locations.

If approved, the bills would extend the 10-cent deposit and refund for all beverage containers except dairy. Only carbonated sodas and alcoholic drinks are included now, but water bottles, tea and sports drinks would be included under the bills.

State Rep. Jon Hoadley and Sen. Sean McCann, both Democrats from Kalamazoo, say the bills better uphold the spirit of Michigan voters, who overwhelmingly approved the 10-cent bottle return law 40 years ago.

Since then, the beverage industry has changed, so non-carbonated drinks and bottled water dominate the market.

“With plastic pollution in the news almost daily, now is the time for Michigan to update our most effective pollution prevention law to meet modern consumer trends,” said Sean Hammond, Michigan Environmental Council policy director.

With more beverage containers included, lawmakers want to make returning them for the 10-cent refund easier. The new bills would require universal redemption, so consumers could return containers for the refund wherever they want.

“By creating a system for universal redemption, it will be easier for consumers to redeem their deposit, reducing plastic pollution and boosting our recycling rate," said Nick Occhipinti, Michigan League of Conservation Voters government affairs director.

Both bills currently are pending in their respective committees. They would have to pass the House and Senate before Gov. Gretchen Whitmer could sign them into law.