Bottle and Can Deposit Returns to be Phased Back In

Michigan Bottle and Can Return Program

LANSING, MI – All of those bottle and can returns are becoming more and more difficult to try and hide when there are so many of them stacking up in those rarely used hiding places around your house.

COVID-19 pushed a giant pause button on the ability to load up our cars with empty and generally sticky cans and bottles that need to be returned to the store so get your deposit money back. Thank goodness that pause button is going to get pushed again but this time to start the process of being able to get rid of all those containers that have been invading various spaces around your home.

The Treasury issued a Notice Regarding Phased Reestablishment of Michigan’s Bottle Deposit Return Program. Beginning June 15, 2020, some retailers must re-open their bottle return facilities and resume the collection of returnable beverage containers and refund of customer bottle deposits. This applies to retailers with bottle return facilities located at the front of the store or housed in a separate area and serviced exclusively by reverse vending machines requiring minimal or no person-to-person contact.

Retailers re-opening their bottle return facilities must ensure 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 of the following steps:

  • Limit the number of beverage containers that may be returned by a single individual per day to a deposit refund amount of $25, pursuant to MCL 445.572(10).
  • Establish special or limited hours of operation for bottle return facilities.
  • Limit the number of available and operating reverse vending machines.
  • Periodically close bottle deposit facilities as needed for cleaning and supply management.
  • Implement such other procedures or restrictions as each retailer may determine are necessary or advisable to promote safety and/or efficiency.

During this initial phase, retailers must limit the volume of weekly returned beverage containers to no more than 140% of their average weekly collection volume for the period April and May 2019.

Consumers have the option of recycling their returnable beverage containers if they choose not to return them to a bottle deposit redemption facility.

The Treasury will issue further guidance regarding additional phases of the reestablishment of the bottle deposit program in the near future.

The collection of returnable beverage containers was temporarily suspended via Executive Order NO. 2020-21, issued by Governor Whitmer on March 23, 2020. The 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 citizens.

Questions regarding the phase-in of the reestablished bottle return program can be directed to Treas_MiscTaxesFees@michigan.gov.

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Bottle and Can Deposit Returns to be Phased Back In