The State of Michigan is moving to open up more bottle and can return options, as Phase 2 kicks in on October 5th.

Back on March 23rd, Governor Whitmer suspended the collection of all beverage containers in the state, as a COVID-19 safety measure.   On June 15th, a few of the bigger stores were allowed to start collecting the containers again, as long as the retailers had return facilities located at the front of the store or housed in a separate area and serviced exclusively by “reverse vending machines.”

Starting 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.

Also, 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.
  • 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.

The state also wants you to know that you could always forgo your dime deposit, and just recycle the containers.   State law outlines that 75% of the previously collected bottle deposit money is automatically deposited into the state's Cleanup and Redevelopment Trust Fund and 25% is returned to the retailers.

What about Phase 3?  The state says they’ll have info on that in the near future.

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