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Business groups want returnables law changed

Published: Aug. 12, 2020 at 5:12 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Most of us at some point have tossed a returnable bottle in the trash before. Maybe it was too beatup, or used it as an ashtray or spit holder for those who chew tobacco.

What happens to the deposit on those bottles or cans? You may be surprised.

As of right now the state gets to keep that ten cents you would’ve earned back on that bottle or can, and now businesses are asking for a cut of it.

Special groups including the Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association want the state to share some of the wealth. Right now, $10 million worth of bottles and cans never get returned to Meijer and other stores in Michigan every year.

By law, 75% of that money goes to the state and given to the Cleanup and Redevelopment Trust Fund to be spent on preventing pollution and cleaning up environmental hazards.

The other 25% goes to stores to help them cover to cost of taking returns. Business groups want the legislature to pass bills cutting the State’s share to 50%, and giving the money to distributors and to police to stop people from bringing in bottles and cans from other states.

They’re absolutely against any attempt to expand the law so juice and other bottles could be returned.

“Invest in the system, get the infrastructure built back up and healthy, get fraud under control and then let’s sit down and have a discussion about expansion,” said Spencer Nevins who is part of the Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association. “But at this point in time expansion would be a disaster. It would crush the bottle bill. It would actually have the opposite effect of improving it and it would harm it.”

The business groups say the money they’d be taking from the state would be used to improve the infrastructure of the returnables system.

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