Law Would Limit Can and Bottle Returns

LANSING -- Michigan lawmakers say too many people are bringing bottles in from outside the state and claiming the 10-cent Michigan refund.  That's why they're proposing a way to put a stop to it.

Michigan charges manufacturers 10 cents for each bottle or can they put on store shelves.  That cost gets passed down to customers, who then return the empty bottle to the store, and get their 10 cents back.  Everyone wins -- assuming that you're returning a Michigan bottle.

The problem is -- that's not always the case.  David Worrell is a cashier at Zeiler's Market, and he says people from Ohio often return bottles and cans to his store.  "Everybody's coming in and doing it," said Worrell.  "Everybody wants their ten cents back."

"There's not much you can really do about it," added Worrell.  "You just have to kind of trust the person."

Michigan lawmakers say if people cross the line and turn in their empties, it's a lose-lose for the stores and the state.  Kate Ebli is the state representative for Monroe County.  She says the state loses $10 million dollars each year in illegal redeptions.  "[The money is] used for brownfield redevelopment, which is critical," said Ebli.  "So those are critical dollars in the state of Michigan that we want to make sure we keep for those environmental programs."

The proposed law would require drink manufacturers to place a special bar code label on containers to indicate they may be returned for a deposit in Michigan.  Manufacturers of bottle return machines would have to upgrade them to recognize Michigan containers.

No word on when lawmakers will vote on the bill.  Count on News 11 to follow this story as it develops.

Posted by AEB