Michigan lawmaker proposes plan to end bottle deposit law
MONROE, Michigan (WNWO) -- A Michigan lawmaker is trying to get rid of the statewide 10-cent bottle deposit law.
State Representative Joe Bellino, R-Monroe, 17th District, says it would create more funding for community recycling programs.
The over 40-year-old law was started to reduce the littering of cans and bottles.
Now, Bellino says it's outdated and is being abused by residents in bordering states, especially from Ohio.
Currently, if you buy a carbonated can or bottle in Michigan, you pay 10-cents extra as a deposit.
To get that back, you have to turn it in.
"As a state Michigan falls drastically behind in the Midwest, except for Indiana, we're one-third of what Minnesota does, less than half of Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, a lot less than Ohio, so we have the bottle bill that does a great job for that 5% of recycling material, but we stink at everything else," said Bellino.
He also owns the Broadway Market in Monroe, and collects a number of bottles and cans each day.
Some residents say they never have time to return those bottles and cans.
"I'm a single mom so every penny counts, I just think that when I have to pay it up front and it's not a choice necessarily, if I'm going to be returning them or not, I don't feel like I should necessarily have to pay that," said Brittney Calender a Monroe resident.
Others say it keeps the streets clean.
"I think it's really helped our state with the 10 cents because it puts more value on each bottle and our streets and our neighborhoods and everything is clear, devoid of any type of plastics that have any type of value to them," said Brett Perelman a Monroe resident.
Bellino says others are capitalizing on the process fraudulently. He says residents from bordering states, especially Ohio, travel to Michigan to cash in their cans and bottles.
The problem with that is they buy those cans and bottles in their home states, and aren't paying the 10-cent deposit which is losing the state of Michigan money.
"We'd see less Ohio cars coming in the morning with their bags of empties. If you go to the Kroger down in Lambertville the lineup is long everyday with people from Ohio with empties," said Bellino.
If the plan is approved it would go into effect in December of 2020. If you bought a can or bottle before then, you would still have three years to return it for the refund.