New Bill Would Repeal Michigan Bottle Deposit

If a new bill in Lansing makes it to law, Michigan may be throwing away their 10 cent bottle deposit.

Before Oregon bumped up their refund this year, Michigan was the only state with the 10 cent value on cans and bottles but that dime per can program may be hindering recycling across the state.

“We were ahead of the curve when it came to recycling with that bottle bill,” says bill sponsor, State Representative Joseph Bellino, But it was 40+ years ago, we’re behind the curve now.”

You’d assume with their bottle deposit, Michigan would be a leader in recycling but it’s not true. They actually only recycle at a 15% clip, less than half their neighboring states.

“Other states like Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Ohio, they have robust community-wide recycling,” says Bellino, “We don’t have that here in Michigan.”

Representative Bellino wants to do away with the bottle deposit and put those valuable cans and bottles in our community recycling, creating incentive to improve these services.

“It’ll allow communities to collect that metal and plastic and it won’t cost them as much to get money from that,” says Bellino, “It won’t cost them as much to have recycling in their own communities.”

Environmentalists agree something needs to be done but the state can’t go backwards.

“We wish as we’re doing it we do things that continue to move the ball forward,” says Sean Hammond, deputy policymaker with the Michigan Environmental Council.

For them the bottle bill works, Michigan just needs to work harder in becoming a recyclable state beyond the bottle deposit

“A good start is actually investing in it,” says Hammond, “Other states have had a lot of success by investing dollars and effort into education, access and recycling.”

Bellino isn’t sure how far the bill will go but that it just gets people talking solutions.

“We want clean water and clean air, why don’t we talk about recycling?” says Bellino, “We stink in Michigan. We stink and we do nothing about it.”

If this bill were to pass and go into law, your empties will still hold that 10 cent value until at least 2023.