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All Michigan bottle and can returns to restart, Treasury says

The Detroit News

Michigan residents can now return their bottles and cans for 10-cent deposits at any retailer accepting them, the state Department of Treasury said Thursday.

"Effective immediately, all grocery stores, supermarkets, convenience stores, gas stations and other retailers with bottle and can return facilities must open their return facilities, resume the collection of returnables and refund customer deposits," the department said in a statement.

"Retailers that typically accept bottles and cans and provide deposits will be reopening their facilities, regardless of where such facilities are physically located, serviced by reverse vending machines, staffed by employees, or some combination of the two."

The state allowed limited bottle and can returns in June. Thursday's announcement is an expansion of those effor

Retailers with return facilities have to ensure compliance with all state-mandated safety protocols under the emergency order the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services issued last week as the coronavirus pandemic continues, officials said.

They can also take steps including: 

•    Limiting the number of beverage containers returned by a single individual per day to a deposit refund amount of $25

•    Setting limited hours of operation for return facilities

•    Limiting the number of available and operating reverse vending machines

•    Periodically closing return facilities for cleaning and supply management

If consumers want to recycle their bottles or cans instead of returning them, "state law outlines that 75% of the previously collected bottle deposit money is automatically deposited into the state's Cleanup and Redevelopment Trust Fund and 25% is returned to the retailers," the Treasury Department said.

More information is available on the department's website.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's administration had banned bottle and can returns in late March as a way of trying to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

In June, the treasury announced many Michigan retailers would be required to start refunding consumers' returnable plastic and glass bottle as well as can deposits that month. But the order applied to those 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," the Treasury Department said at the time.