Debate over bottle deposit bill continues

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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - There was a lot of uproar on social media last week after a state representative introduced a bill that would end Michigan's bottle deposit law.

Supporters of that law say the ten cent deposit helps keep junk off the streets and saves the state money on environmental clean-up.

It's been four decades since Michigan passed a law allowing people to return bottles and cans for a ten cent deposit but a new proposal could put that to an end.

“Our environment is so much cleaner because of this bottle bill so I am not in favor at all of getting rid of it. If you drive Michigan roads rather it’s the inner cities or out state you just don't see the litter like we saw when I was a kid”, said Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall.

Wednesday night supporters of the bottle bill gathered to celebrate the law's 40th anniversary, a law proponents say helps keep the state clean.

“We've had this deposit law in effect for 40 years now in Michigan”, said Bill Rustem who worked for the Milliken Administration when the bill was passed.

“It's done enormous good in terms of cleaning up our roads and beaches and highways and our back lawns.”

Republican State Representative Joseph Bellino says although the bottle bill reduced littering in the 1980s and 1990s, it currently hurts community recycling programs.

Bellino stated in a press release that Michigan has one of the lowest residential recycling rates in the country and the bottle deposit law only pulls in two percent of the state's waste.

“What we have to have if we're gonna do that then we gotta have a way to pay for comprehensive recycling”, Rostem added.

“What that means is that we gotta have curbside recycling all across the state, every homeowner has a recycling bin, … and that cost money.”

Supporters of the ten cent deposit say the law would be tough to repeal because it requires a three-quarters vote from both houses of the legislature.