MEC applauds safe reopening of bottle return services

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Monday the resumption of bottle return services with certain restrictions starting June 15 in a win for Michigan’s residents and its recycling industries. 

“We applaud the governor for continuing her deliberate and safety-based approach to reopening Michigan’s economy during the continued COVID-19 pandemic,” said Sean Hammond, policy director of Michigan Environmental Council.

 “It’s time to let Michiganders return their bottles and cans in a safe manner to minimize contact," he added. "Allowing these low-risk returns to resume allows us to start addressing the backlog in the deposit system and resupplying our recycling markets with this high-quality material.”

People can safely recycle up to $25 worth of their items using reverse vending machines only. These facilities are often seen at the front of or beside major supermarkets and grocery stores. 

An estimated 500 million returnable cans and bottles are housed in Michigan households -- about $50 million in 10-cent returns -- according to a May 25 Associated Press report. Those returns will generate many dollars more in products made by employees of Michigan’s recycling industry.