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Reestablishment of Michigan’s Bottle Deposit Return Program announced

Phase one of reestablishment will begin June 15, 2020.

LANSING, Mich. — On March 23, 2020, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed an order that suspended the collection of returnable beverage containers. Today, the Michigan Department of Treasury announced a phased plan to reestablish the program.

The temporary suspension came with Michigan’s fight against COVID-19, and permitted grocery stores to shift employees from container collection to other areas where workers were more urgently needed.

Phase one of reestablishment will begin June 15, 2020.

On this day, retailers “with bottle return facilities located at the front of the store or housed in a separate area and serviced exclusively by reverse vending machines requiring minimal or no person-to-person contact must re-open their bottle return facilities and resume the collection of returnable beverage containers and refund of customer bottle deposits,” according to the Michigan Department of  Treasury.

During phase one, retailers must follow state-mandated safety protocols and limit volume of weekly returns to no more than 140% of their average weekly collection volume for the period April and May 2019.

The Michigan Department of Treasury also listed the following steps, which retailers may take 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, pursuant to MCL 445.572(10).
  • 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.

Currently, only the first phase has been outlined and provided to the public. The Michigan Department of Treasury says further guidance regarding additional phases will be issued in the near future.

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