CBS Detroit – Good news to those looking to take back their ten-cent deposits on bottles back. In a press release from the Michigan Department of Treasury, they announced Phase 2 of Michigan’s bottle return begins on October 5th.

What this means for residents is, all grocery stores, supermarkets, convenience stores, gas stations, and other retailers with reverse vending machines must reopen their bottle returns and resume taking collections on returnables.

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The reverse vending machines are the machines at many many supermarkets that people insert their return with a redeemable barcode on the bottle or can, in which at the end of the transaction dispenses a coupon people can redeem at checkout for cash or money off their purchases. There are limits in place retailers can employ as-part of Michigan’s reopening plan to make sure their stores and staff stay safe.

Credit: | aleks333 – A reverse vending machine.

The number of returns that are allowed per-day by a single person to no more than $25 per day. Stores can also at their discretion limit the hours of operation of reverse vending machines or return facilities, partly to allow shutdown periods so staff can do necessary cleaning, disinfecting, and emptying of the reverse vending machines. As well as implement other health and safety procedures.

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What many in Michigan may not know is that when you recycle or throw out your bottle returns, 75% of the unclaimed bottle return money goes to Michigan’s Cleanup and Redevelopment Trust Fund, and the remaining 25% goes back to the retailers. According to, in 2017 $8.4 million in unclaimed deposits was distributed, with retailers getting about $2.1 million of that. since 1990 Michigan has collected a total of $11.1 billion.

According to BridgeMI, the closing of Michigan’s stores from the Coronavirus pandemic caused a huge backlog in bottle returns people were stashing at home. With an estimated amount of 800 million returns stockpiled in garages and homes across the state. Since implementing Phase 1 and now with phase two, it would appear soft drink and recycling industries are finally catching up to that backlog.

Under Phase 2, the Treasury Department says stores without reverse vending machines that require employees or other person-to-person contact to process returns,  can take returns at their discretion in order to protect their staff. All stores operating in Phase 2 must operate under all of Michigan’s mandated safety procedures.

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