Michigan's bottle deposit law could be repealed

Posted at 6:12 AM, Nov 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-29 12:55:35-05

Michigan's 40-year-old bottle deposit law could be repealed.

State Rep. Joe Bellino, of Monroe, has introduced legislation as part of a new plan to provide a boost to community recycling programs.

Bellino said that although the bottle bill helped reduce litter in the 1980s and 90s, it's now hurting recycling. 

At 15 percent, Michigan's residential recycling rate is one of the lowest in the nation.

“The bottle bill pulls the two most valuable materials – aluminum and PET plastic – away from community-based recycling systems,” Bellino said. “Rerouting these materials into local recycling programs would provide the boost recyclers need to sustain their programs and expand access to even more communities.”

Under the plan, the state's bottle deposit law would end on Dec. 31, 2022. Those who purchase a product with a deposit before that date would have three years to return the container for a refund through the old system.

Prior to the repeal, additional money from unclaimed deposits would be directed into local recycling programs.

“The bottle deposit system ultimately captures just 2 percent of our waste, but it costs more and generates less revenue than traditional recycling programs,” Bellino said. “It’s time to do away with this outdated program and focus on comprehensive community recycling programs that are better for Michigan families, businesses and our environment.”

The Michigan Recycling Partnership estimates that Michigan loses $10-13 million in fraudulent bottle returns every year.