Pack Your Patience When Returning Cans and Bottles

Port Huron, MI — For those frustrated with long lines to return cans and bottles to get the 10-cent deposit back, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) has some advice: be patient. Summer holidays, warm weather, and the lingering stockpiles of cans and bottles in garages and basements statewide have created the perfect storm for a major strain on the bottle return system.

Michigan residents have paid deposits on about $80 million worth of returnable beverage cans and bottles since the COVID-19 crisis began. The eleven-week shutdown of deposit redemption facilities set the stage for a major headache for retailers forced to redeem the deposits.

The Michigan Department of Treasury set up limits to avoid a breakdown of the processing infrastructure and the reverse logistics of deposit returns. Individuals are allowed to return no more than $25 worth of returns per day. Retailers are only allowed to accept up to 140% of their 2019 sales volume of cans and bottles with a deposit.

EGLE warns that some facilities are at maximum capacity and may have to periodically close their redemption centers  due to mandatory limits. According to EGLE, masks and social distancing are a must when making those can and bottle returns.

Reporting for WGRT – Jennie McClelland