CBS Detroit – Due to a halt on bottle deposit returns from Governor Whitmer’s COVID-19 Executive Orders, The Detroit News reported today that The Michigan Treasury Department said retailers can start taking bottle returns on June 15th.

As reported earlier, it has been estimated Michiganders are sitting on $50 Million dollars worth of returnable cans and bottles. That’s a whole lot of dimes. With an estimated 70 million cans and bottles stacking-up each week state-wide, retailers and recyclers will have their hands full for months in processing the materials. This is good as supplies of recycled materials used in making cans and bottles have been getting scarce, and bottle makers in the drink industry have had to resort to new materials. Having the recycled material available for beverages will ultimately benefit consumers by keeping beverage container costs lower.

Credit: Shutterstock.com | moomsabuy – Containers recycled containers from across the state are resued by the beverage industry.

The Detroit News reports that retailers who have a bottle return area housed at the front of the store, or in their own separate area, where commonly reverse vending machines are housed, can start taking bottle returns on the 15th.

Retailers can set a daily limit on returns and protective COVID-19  measures must be in place. For most stores, you could see a $25 per day limit, with possible limited hours, as the anticipated stores of bottles in garages everywhere will have store workers replacing bins to the reverse vending machines more frequently.

The Treasury Department told the Detroit News, “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,”.

For those who decided to recycle their bottles at the curb, rather than hold onto them for return, the state takes the unclaimed deposit money known as escheat, with about 75% going to the Cleanup and Redevelopment Trust Fund, with the other 25% going back to retailers.

These escheats from forfeited deposits add up big time, in 2018 Michigan had a record of $42.8 million dollars in unclaimed escheat or unclaimed bottle deposits. It’s possible that due to the Coronavirus measures, the money the state gets from escheats could be a lot higher.


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