Companies call for reinvestment in bottle deposit law

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FILE – In this Nov. 15, 2016, file photo, crushed plastic bottles sit in a bale following sorting at the Mid-America Recycling plant, in Lincoln, Neb. Coca-Cola Co., PepsiCo and Keurig Dr. Pepper are investing $100 million to improve U.S. bottle recycling and processing. (Francis Gardler/The Journal-Star via AP, File)

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — The COVID-19 pandemic shined a light on some issues with our state’s bottle deposit law according to some business owners across the state.

Wednesday morning, leaders got together to talk about how it can be improved.

Companies that have invested in michigan’s bottle deposit law held a virtual meeting Wenesday on zoom. The Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association and the Michigan Soft Drink Association were on the call.

The associations believe there is a critical need to reinvest in this 40-year-old law and this money would allow for infrastructure improvements.

Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association President said millions of dollars that should be used on expanding and updating recycling infrastructure goes into the department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy’s Budget.

“We haven’t seen where that money is truly going into environmental cleaning up and toxic cleanup. we hear it is. Who knows,” he said. “We don’t know how it’s being spent we can’t get answers.”

He said to protect our great lakes, reinvesting in this program needs to happen and this includes funding local recycling programs.

The Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association said in the spring, Michigan legislation was introduced to update Michigan’s bottle bill.

This would be used to crackdown on fraud and abuse and increase access to recycling.

The association said, “House Bills 5422, 5423, 5424 and 5425 would redirect a portion of the money collected from unclaimed deposits to ensure local recycling programs will be supported while the bottle bill remains sustainable and workable.”

Currently, 75% of the money goes to EGLE and 25% goes to retailers according to the association and under the package of bills, the new breakdown would be 50% to EGLE.

– The first $25 million to the Cleanup and Redevelopment Trust Fund
– The next $5 million to the Renew Michigan fund to support local recycling programs
– Any amount greater than $30 million to the Cleanup and Redevelopment Trust Fund
25% to retailers
20% to beverage distributors, who are charged with implementing and overseeing the bottle bill
5% to law enforcement to combat the rampant deposit fraud that is currently undermining the effectiveness of the bottle bill

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