LANSING, Mich. (WLNS)– Michigan has had the same bottle recycling law for decades. A new bill at the state capitol aims to expand it.
But not everyone is on board with the changes.
For more than 40 years Michigan has had the same law that encourages businesses to recycle single-use bottles for carbonated drinks like sodas and seltzer water. A new bill would expand that law to non-carbonated drinks like waters and sweet teas.
State Representative Jon Hoadley says it’s a way to modernize the law.
“Over time, the type of beverages that we use and the bottles that we’re using have changed,” Hoadley says. “It’s important that we modernize our bottle bill law to reflect the fact that more people are drinking non-carbonated beverages now, whether we’re talking about water or juice or things like that.”
The bill would allow customers to bring bottles back to stores who would then handle the sorting and recycling.
Providing that labor already puts a lot of strain on stores, according to the Michigan Retailers Association–and that’s not their only concern.
“The real issue, I think, for grocers is the food safety concern,” says Vice President for Government Affairs Amy Drumm. “You have these dirty containers coming back into stores where you’re selling clean food that has to meet food safety standards. And that’s the real issue, keeping it clean.”
Hoadley says the bill is just a starting point and the state legislature will work to find more solutions.
“Moving forward, there’s going to be a larger conversation about recycling,” Hoadley says. “We have a ton of work to do. We put some ideas on the table, and I’m excited to continue the conversation with folks who want to see a robust solution to increase Michigan’s recycling rates.”