Michigan Bottle Deposit Law

Urging citizens of Michigan to recycle bottles and cans, our state has had a deposit law for years. Many states have a voluntary recycling program, some states charge $0.05 deposit on various bottles and cans, but Michigan charges $0.10 deposit on carbonated beverages to coax people into getting their deposit money back and keeping these items out of land fills.

Most grocery stores have automated machines in which bottles and cans are inserted one at a time. A scanner reads the bar code to be sure that only brands sold at the location are refunded the deposit. The machine tallies the number of items inserted and prints a receipt that is redeemable for cash at the registers.

The scanner now reads an extra code that differentiates cans sold in Michigan with cans sold elsewhere at half the deposit or no deposit at all. Non-Michigan cans are rejected. The aluminum cans and plastic bottles are immediately crushed and dropped into a bin for the beer and pop companies to return to facilities for recycling. Glass bottles go in a separate machine and are returned intact.

With bottled water sales now surpassing pop sales, Michigan is considering putting the deposit on water bottles, too. I am doing my part by voluntarily recycling all of my bottles and cans whether a deposit was paid or not. Inserting all those items into the machines is just too time consuming.

It is a bit of a hassle, but it is a good deed worth doing. Recycling is more nature-friendly than natural decomposition, and the refund is like bonus money to me. I save the empties and store them in 30 gallon garbage cans. Each can nets $12-$15 in mad money that I try to spend on stuff I wouldn’t buy otherwise, rather than putting the money back into the general fund.

Mike Venturini

Jonesville Michigan Bed and Breakfast Innkeeper

“Life is good in Jonesville”

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