As a resident of the great state o fMichigan, I am single-handedly leading a charge to make major modifications to the ten-cent bottle deposit. My frustration did not come about overnight – but little by little over the years. Because of this, the State of Michigan owes me at least one hundred dollars because of the antiquated bottle deposit law. One can say that I have been nickel and dimed to death.
Deposit History – Michigan enacted the Michigan Beverage Container Law in 1976 aiming to curb litter and to encourage recycling. Retailers who sell carbonated and certain beverage containers collect a ten-cent deposit (tax) on each item sold.Michigan then places 75% of the collected revenue into a Cleanup and Development Trust fund; the retailers receive 25% of the remaining amount.
From 1990 till 2008, the State of Michiganhas taken in over two-hundred and fifteen million dollars in unclaimed revenue; Michigan is making good money with this program.
My Complaints – First, most stores do not take containers of beverages that they do not sell. Store managers claim that if they are not a distributor, then they can not take the container. You have no way to tell if the store will take your container until you place it through the machine. If the container is not accepted,Michigan wants you to inform the store manager, and if that is unsuccessful, contactMichigan.
Seriously, most people give up because why go through the trouble for only a few dollars?
Second, because most stores have automated machines and many times the machines can not read the barcode. No refunds for containers that are crushed, have no label, or unreadable by the scanner. This really irks me because I paid ten-cents to the state ofMichigan and now I am unable to get my deposit back. And the funny thing is that if the machine does not take the cans, most people either leave them by the machine or they end up in the trash anyways!
If I Were Governor – First, repeal the law. According to Liberty Defined, recycling consumes more energy than it saves. Second, Michigan should run the bottle deposit recycling centers if the law is not repealed. If the state wants to impose a tax on containers, let the state sort out the non-taxed containers. One interesting side note here – there is a massive fight brewing between theABA (American Beverage Association) andMichigan regarding adding a small code to the container. But from my perspective, many beverages are made and shipped from distribution centers in each state.
One has to ask a pertinent question regarding bottle deposits – namely, is Michigan better without the tax?
State of Michigan. Michigan Beverage Container Deposit Law
State of Michigan. Michigan Deposit Law Frequently Asked Questions
Paul, R. (2011). Liberty Defined.Boston: Grand Central Publishing
Mlive. Beverage Industry Sues Michigan Over New Deposit Law