Legislation to compensate beverage companies to update their recycling equipment using unreturned recyclables deposit funds passed in the Michigan House. Unredeemed money from the 10-cent per container bottle return is currently divided between the state and retailers operating bottle return locations. The state’s Cleanup and Redevelopment Trust Fund, which mainly funds cleanup efforts for certain contamination sites, gets 75% of the money and 25% is given to the retailers.
The proposed legislation would offer beverage distributors a half-cent per bottle tax credit for every container eligible for the bottle return, a measure that would cost the state $20 million annually, according to the House Fiscal Agency. The legislation would also allow distributors to receive funds from the unredeemed bottle returns if the annual value is greater than $50 million through 2022.
Michigan is one of 10 states with deposits on recyclable cans and bottles. The state shut down recycling collections for about three months earlier in the pandemic with restrictions on how many cans could be returned in one trip. Lawmakers now expect that many of the containers stacked up in garages and basements around the state will be returned, while others already have been diverted to landfills. Both factors pose issues for beverage companies because they are responsible for collecting the recycled remains.