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FAQ: Bottle Deposit Law

bottles in a bottle recycling bin
Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy

FAQ: Bottle Deposit Law

The Michigan Bottle Deposit Law (or Bottle Bill) was initiated in 1976. It is a petition to initiate legislation to provide for the use of returnable containers for soft drinks, soda water, carbonated natural or mineral water or other non-alcoholic carbonated drink; beer, ale or other malt drink of whatever alcoholic content.

  • Michigan does not collect statistics regarding beverage container return rates. Information is collected by the State of Michigan Treasury regarding the amount of deposits collected and refunded by distributors (see below). These numbers do not account for the impact of beverage containers purchased in another state or country and returned illegally for a deposit here in Michigan.

     Year Total Deposits Collected Total Refunds Percent Refunded
    1990 $294.4 $289.0 98.2%
    1991 364.1 354.6 97.4%
    1992 361.7 363.2 100.4%
    1993 369.2 362.1 98.1%
    1994 383.0 380.0 99.2%
    1995 391.9 387.1 98.8%
    1996 403.6 394.2 97.7%
    1997 412.9 401.5 97.2%
    1998 457.8 443.2 96.8%
    1999 429.0 407.0 94.9%
    2000 418.9 395.4 94.4%
    2001 441.9 424.4 96.0%
    2002 443.9 425.8 95.9%
    2003 434.3 422.7 97.3%
    2004 428.4 417.8 97.5%
    2005 427.5 415.4 97.1%
    2006 415,8 399.5 96.1%
    2007 409.5 402.2 98.2%
    2008 420.7 407.6 96.9%
    2009 415.7 398.6 95.9%
    2010 414.9 398.6 96.1%
    2011 410.2 393.5 95.9^
    2012 370.8 351.1 94.7%
    2013 368.3 348.0 94.5%
    2014 367.3 345.9 94.2%
    2015 377.7 352.8 93.4%
    2016 379.1 349.5 92.2%
    2017 386.2 352.4 91.2%
    2018 393.9 350.6 89.0%
    2019 381.1 338.1 88.7%
    2020 401.8 293.4 73%
    2021 413.6 311.8 75.4%
    2022 398.3 301.8 75.6%

  • The Michigan Department of Treasury (Treasury) administers the collection and distribution of unredeemed deposits under the Bottle Deposit Law. For additional information not found within the Frequently Asked Questions, please contact the Miscellaneous Taxes and Fees Unit at 517-636-0515.

  • You can view the Michigan Beverage Containers Initiated Law of 1976, commonly known as the Bottle Bill or Bottle Deposit Law, Michigan Compiled Laws (MCL) Sections 445.571 through 445.576 (Michigan Bottle Deposit Law) at At this Internet site, you will find the most up-to-date requirements for bottlers, retailers, and consumers.

  • The Michigan Bottle Deposit Law escheat (unclaimed deposits that revert to the state) is collected by Treasury.

    The first $1 million is deposited to the Bottle Bill Enforcement Fund. This fund is used by the Michigan State Police for the enforcement of the Michigan Bottle Deposit Law and Investigation of violations. The Bottle Bill Enforcement Fund continues to collect $1 million annually until a maximum of $3 million is met. If the deposits in the fund reach $3 million, deposits in the fund are suspended until the fund balance falls below $2 million.

    After the disbursement of the first $1 million to the Bottle Bill Enforcement Fund, the remaining amount is dispersed as follows: seventy-five percent of the money is deposited into the Cleanup and Redevelopment Trust Fund (Trust Fund), created in 1996 PA 384, and 25 percent is returned to the retailers. Of the 75 percent deposited in the Trust Fund, 80 percent is deposited into the Cleanup and Redevelopment Fund, 10 percent is deposited into the Community Pollution Prevention Fund, and 10 percent remains in the Trust Fund. The Trust Fund continues to collect the 10 percent per year until a maximum of $200 million is met.

    The Community Pollution Prevention Fund is used for programs to educate the general public and businesses that use or handle hazardous materials on pollution prevention methods, technologies, and processes, with an emphasis on the direct reduction of toxic material releases or disposal, at the source. The Cleanup and Redevelopment Fund is used to clean up specific sites of contamination in Michigan.

    For more information on how the Michigan Bottle Deposit Law escheat is used, please contact Mr. Mark Kussro, Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) at 517-525-9176.

  • First, contact the store manager about the situation. If the store still will not accept containers that are clean, clearly labeled as deposit containers, and sold by the retailer, contact the Michigan Department of Attorney General’s, Consumer Protection Division to file a complaint or call 1-877-765-8388.

  • Most beverage containers in Michigan are labeled with a bar code that a reverse vending machine reads to determine if the container is returnable. The containers should not be crushed so that the bar code can be read to ensure the product was purchased in Michigan. However, retailers are required to accept crushed containers if they are clean, sold by the retailer, and can be identified as a Michigan returnable beverage container. Returning non-crushed containers will be easier for you and the retailer.

  • A dealer may accept, but is not required to accept, from a person, empty returnable containers for a refund in excess of $25 on any given day. In other words, the Michigan Bottle Deposit Law allows up to $25 in refunds to be given per person per day per retailer. If the retailer chooses, he/she may accept additional amounts. However, a retailer may not refuse to accept fewer than $25 in returns from a person.

  • The Michigan Bottle Deposit Law states in MCL Section 445.572(4) that “...a dealer shall accept from a person an empty returnable container of any kind, size, and brand sold or offered for sale by that dealer and pay to that person its full refund value in cash.” The definition of an empty returnable container is found in MCL Section 445.571(c): “Empty returnable container” means a beverage container that contains nothing except the residue of its original contents. To reduce odors and nuisance problems from pests, return them dry and do not use the container for other materials.

  • Only “beverage containers” require a deposit and may be redeemed. The law states under MCL Section 445.571(b) that a beverage means a “soft drink, soda water, carbonated natural or mineral water, or other nonalcoholic carbonated drink; beer, ale, or other malt drink of whatever alcoholic content; or a mixed wine drink or a mixed spirit drink.”

  • No. Bringing beverage containers from out of state on which no deposit was paid in Michigan for the purpose of collecting a deposit on the containers is illegal. Each fraudulently returned container reduces the amount of escheat money going into the Community Pollution Prevention Fund, the Cleanup and Redevelopment Fund, and the Trust Fund. Penalties for fraudulently redeeming beverage containers can be found in MCL Section 445.574a(2).

  • The amount of fraud occurring is not currently known. As stated above, each container fraudulently returned in Michigan reduces the amount of money for community pollution prevention projects or cleanup and redevelopment of polluted sites. If you plan to bring in containers from out of state because you are concerned that containers may not be recycled, please deposit them in a recycling drop-off location in the state where you purchased them.

  • The Beverage Container Redemption Antifraud Act, Act 388 of 2008, was enacted to prevent deposit law fraud. 

    Also, the Reverse Vending Machine Antifraud Act, Act 387 of 2008 can be read at However, the reverse vending machine legislation previously enacted through Public Acts 386, 387, 388, and 389 of 2008 have been deemed unconstitutional by Federal District Court. As a result, the Michigan Department of Treasury no longer has any statutory authority or obligation to administer these former public acts.

  • No. A law passed in 2004 (PA 34 of 2004) prohibits beverage containers, as defined in Deposit Law, from being disposed of in a landfill. Beverage containers may be placed in recycling bins, taken to a recycling center, or redeemed for deposit. 

  • MCL Section 445.572(7) states: “Each beverage container sold or offered for sale by a dealer within this state shall clearly indicate by embossing or by a stamp, a label, or other method securely affixed to the beverage container, the refund value of the container and the name of this state.” For more information, contact the Michigan Department of Treasury Tax Policy Division at 517-335-7478 or

  • Beverage containers are prohibited from disposal. They are recycled.

  • For information regarding redeemed deposit reporting; the mandatory Michigan Unredeemed Beverage Container Deposit Report, Form 2666; the voluntary Request for Bottle Deposit Fund Reimbursement (for Retailers and Dealers), Form 2196; and other vender issues surrounding the Michigan Bottle Deposit Law, please contact Treasury's Miscellaneous Taxes and Fees Unit at 517-636-0515.

  • The Michigan Bottle Deposit Law requires an annual report be filed with Treasury by distributors and manufacturers who originate deposits (most manufacturers do not). They report the dollar value of deposits originated as well as the dollar value of refunds made. Based on this and any previously available credits, they are determined to be an “under redeemer” or an “over redeemer.” The under redeemer would owe the state the value of the under redemption. There is not a tax as distributors/manufacturers do not have “unclaimed deposits.”

  • Michigan is one of 10 states with a beverage container deposit law. You can find information about other states’ bottle bills here.