Notice Regarding Phase 2 of Michigan's Reestablished Bottle Deposit Return Program

NOTICE REGARDING PHASE 2 OF MICHIGAN’S REESTABLISHED BOTTLE DEPOSIT RETURN PROGRAM

Issued:  September 21, 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 began to be eased, it was determined that the bottle deposit return program should be reestablished in a safe, phased-in manner. 

Phase 1 of the program began June 15, 2020.  Retailers that re-opened their bottle return facilities during Phase 1 should continue operations and continue to comply with all Phase 1 guidelines, including the volume limitation on weekly beverage container collections.  For details regarding Phase 1, see Notice Regarding Phased Reestablishment of Michigan’s Bottle Deposit Return Program, dated June 1, 2020, published on Treasury’s website.  https://www.michigan.gov/treasury/0,4679,7-121-44402_76517-530569--,00.html

Phase 2:

Beginning October 5, 2020, all grocery stores, supermarkets, convenience stores, gas stations and other retailers of every kind with bottle return facilities serviced exclusively by reverse vending machines requiring minimal or no person-to-person contact, regardless where such facilities are physically located, must re-open their bottle return facilities and resume the collection of returnable beverage containers and refund of customer bottle deposits.  Retailers with other types of bottle return facilities, including facilities staffed by employees and requiring more than minimal person-to-person contact, may re-open those return facilities at their discretion.

All retailers re-opening their bottle return facilities during Phase 2, including those retailers re-opening bottle return facilities at their own discretion, 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 2, 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.
  • Michiganders are required to wear a cloth mask or face covering over the mouth and nose when in indoor public spaces or crowded outdoor spaces.
  • In public situations, practice social distancing by maintaining at least 6 feet of distance from others.
  • 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; get tested for COVID-19 if appropriate.

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.