If you’ve still got a garage or back porch full of returnable bottles and cans and have been frustrated by the restrictions placed in Michigan for getting them turned in, you’ll be happy to know that the state is moving into Phase 2 of the program early next month.
Michigan residents seeking their 10-cent deposit on bottles and cans will soon have more options for redeeming those deposits, according to the Michigan Department of Treasury.
With the beginning of “Phase 2” on October 5th, all grocery stores, supermarkets, convenience stores, gas stations and other retailers with reverse vending machines must reopen their bottle return facilities and resume the collection of returnable bottles and cans to refund outstanding deposits.
Retailers with other types of bottle return facilities ― including facilities staffed by employees and requiring more than minimal person-to-person contact ― may re-open those return facilities at their discretion.
All retailers re-opening their bottle return facilities during “Phase 2” must ensure that those facilities comply with all state-mandated safety protocols and restrictions, including the most recent state-mandated safeguards to protect workers.
In addition, retailers may take any or all the following steps at their discretion:
- Limit the number of beverage containers that may be returned by a single individual per day to a deposit refund amount of $25, as outlined in state law.
- Establish special or limited hours of operation for return facilities.
- Limit the number of available and operating reverse vending machines.
- Periodically close return facilities as needed for cleaning and supply management.
- Implement other procedures or restrictions as necessary to promote safety, efficiency, or both.
If individuals recycle their bottles or cans instead of returning to a retailer for the 10-cent deposit, state law outlines that 75-percent of the previously collected bottle deposit money is automatically deposited into the state’s Cleanup and Redevelopment Trust Fund and 25-percent is returned to the retailers.
Under the previous bottle and can return guidance outlined in “Phase 1,” retailers with return facilities located at the front of the store or housed in a separate area and serviced exclusively by reverse vending machines were required to reopen.
The collection of returnable beverage containers was suspended by an executive order issued by Governor Whitmer on March 23, 2020.
That temporary suspension supported Michigan’s fight against the coronavirus by permitting grocery stores and other retailers to immediately shift employees from container collection and deposit redemption duties to other areas where they were more urgently needed, and to protect the health and safety of retailers, their employees, and all Michigan residents.
The state Treasury Department will issue further guidance regarding additional phases of the re-establishment of the bottle deposit program when health and safety conditions are appropriate.
Additional information about the expansion of bottle and can return opportunities can be found in the state Treasury Department’s “Notice Regarding Phase 2 of Michigan’s Re-Established Bottle Deposit Return Program.” You can read that material here: