Notice: Phased Reestablishment of Bottle Deposit Return Program

NOTICE REGARDING PHASED REESTABLISHMENT OF MICHIGAN’S BOTTLE DEPOSIT RETURN PROGRAM

Issued:  June 1, 2020

Executive Order No. 2020-21, issued by Governor Whitmer on March 23, 2020, temporarily suspended the collection of returnable beverage containers by retailers and other parties under Michigan’s Beverage Container Deposit Law, MCL 445.571 et seq.  The temporary suspension supported Michigan’s fight against the coronavirus by permitting grocery stores and other retailers to immediately shift employees from container collection and deposit redemption duties to other areas where they were more urgently needed, and to protect the health and safety of retailers, their employees, and all Michigan citizens.  As certain other commercial and economic restrictions have recently been eased, it has been determined that the bottle deposit return program should resume in a safe manner.

Michigan’s bottle deposit return program will be reestablished in phases. 

Phase 1:

Beginning June 15, 2020, all grocery stores, supermarkets and other retailers 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 must re-open their bottle return facilities and resume the collection of returnable beverage containers and refund of customer bottle deposits.

Retailers re-opening their bottle return facilities during Phase 1 must ensure that those facilities comply with all state-mandated safety protocols and restrictions, including the most recent state-mandated safeguards to protect workers (see https://www.michigan.gov/whitmer/0,9309,7-387-90499_90705-529864--,00.html).

In addition, retailers may, at their discretion, take any or all of the following steps:

  • Limit the number of beverage containers that may be returned by a single individual per day to a deposit refund amount of $25, pursuant to MCL 445.572(10).
  • Establish special or limited hours of operation for bottle return facilities.
  • Limit the number of available and operating reverse vending machines.
  • Periodically close bottle deposit facilities as needed for cleaning and supply management.
  • Implement such other procedures or restrictions as each retailer may determine are necessary or advisable to promote safety and/or efficiency.

During each week of Phase 1, retailers must limit the volume of weekly returned beverage containers to no more than 140% of their average weekly collection volume for the period April and May 2019.

Recycling:  Consumers should be aware that they always have the option of recycling their returnable beverage containers if they choose not to return them to a bottle deposit redemption facility.

Additional Phases:  Treasury will issue further guidance regarding additional phases of the reestablishment of the bottle deposit program in the near future.

Questions:  Questions regarding the phase-in of the reestablished bottle deposit return program may be directed to:

Michigan Department of Treasury

Special Taxes Division/Misc. Taxes and Fees

Phone: 517-636-0515

Email: Treas_MiscTaxesFees@michigan.gov

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All individuals should continue to take the following basic personal-hygiene measures to help prevent the spread of the virus:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid handshakes.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home if you are sick.

The most up-to-date guidance on these and other virus-mitigation strategies is available at www.Michigan.gov/coronavirus.  This matter is rapidly evolving and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services may provide updated guidance.