Technology. Manufacturing. A lot has changed in the past forty years in how and what we drink as consumers. Two Kalamazoo area Michigan legislators have proposed changes to Michigan's recycling laws and regulations.

Sen. Sean McCann (D-Kalamazoo) and Rep. Christine Morse (D-Portage) have introduced legislation to update and expand Michigan’s 40-year-old “Bottle Bill” law.

The Most Noticeable Change:

The biggest change you'd see, as a consumer, is that Senate Bill 167 and House Bill 4331 would expand the state's current 10-cent deposit on certain soft drinks, beer, and other carbonated beverages to all other non-carbonated beverages, except for milk containers.

Other changes in the proposed law:

  • Permit universal redemption, allowing consumers to take any recyclable bottle to a large store while allowing smaller stores to maintain smaller takebacks.
  • Create a bottle handling fund to reimburse distributors and dealers on a per-bottle-basis.
  • Make funding available for audits and fraud enforcement.
  • Provide $25 million each year to address contaminated sites.

“Michigan’s four decade-old ‘Bottle Bill’ was an innovative approach to promote recycling and prevent littering,” said Sen. McCann. “It is the most widely used and accepted state conservation program in state history, and it is time for us to build on that success. We have established a strong recycling culture and it makes no sense that Michigan residents aren’t able to return a deposit on plastic water bottles and other single-use containers.” ; Michigan State Senator Sean McCann, (D-Kalamazoo)

One of the supporters of the bill, Sean Hammond of the Michigan Environmental Council says,

“When the Bottle Bill was first enacted, people couldn't imagine the quantity or variety of single-use beverage containers we consume every day, especially the amount of bottled water or the sheer variety of Michigan brewed craft beer,” Expanding the number of containers covered by the 10-cent deposit, and making it easier to return any bottle to any major store, is a consumer-friendly change that not only keeps our environment clean, but makes returning bottles and cans even more convenient for Michiganders.”

Bottom line, if passed, this bill will add a dime to the cost of most bottled drinks, but the trade off is, the convenience of taking those bottle to any store, and encouraging more recycling.

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