LANSING - State Representative Sean McCann (Kalamazoo) recently introduced legislation to broaden the scope of the Michigan Beverage Container Law to include water and all carbonated and noncarbonated beverages except for milk, if they are packaged in metal, plastic or glass containers of one gallon or smaller. The current bottle law results in a 95 to 98 percent recycling rate for the returnable containers covered under the law. This compares to a rate of 20 percent or less for non-returnable containers. Rep. McCann’s bill is intended to incentivize the recycling of beverage containers that currently are not subject to the state’s bottle deposit rules. The bill has not yet been assigned a number in the House.
“Michigan’s natural resources and beauty are the envy of many throughout the country and a major component of our state’s economy, so it is crucial that we protect our state’s environment,” said McCann. “By introducing this legislation, I hope to offer all consumers an opportunity to easily recycle the materials used to package and store beverages. I want people to know that we all gain in the long-term by taking small steps today.”
Current law places a 10-cent deposit on carbonated beverage containers, like pop and beer, and was enacted through a ballot initiative in 1976. Since then, the variety of non-carbonated single-serving beverages has greatly expanded to include bottled water, juice, tea, sports drinks and other drinks now commonly purchased. An expanded bottle bill would capture an estimated 600 million non-returnable containers purchased in the state each year for recycling, with no additional taxpayer expenditures required. Recycling advocates point to benefits including: reduced pollution, reduced consumption of energy and natural resources, reduced litter, conservation of landfill space and job creation.
“This bill matters for Michigan’s environment and economy. By offering deposits on water battles and other beverage containers, we will be keeping them out of landfills, street gutters and waterways. We will preserve our beautiful state for generations to come,” said McCann.