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Stores prepare to take back bottles and cans

Posted at 6:51 PM, Jun 02, 2020

LANSING, Mich. — There are an estimated $67 million worth of bottles and cans waiting to be taken back in Michigan.

Starting June 15, Michiganders can start taking back the months worth of returnables.

Many grocery stores are still trying to figure out their plans for accepting bottles and cans again.

The Michigan Department of Treasury has sent out some guidelines on how to do it safely.

On June 15, stores with reverse vending machines in a separate area have to resume taking them. Stores can also implement their own rules like limiting the number of machines available and shortening their hours.

The Michigan Department of Treasury is telling stores to cap weekly returns at 140% of what they typically took before coronavirus. It's one idea to avoid overwhelming the system.

"One of the concerns is that stores will be inundated with cans and bottles right away. So stores can limit customers to $25 worth of bottles and cans per day," said Meegan Holland with the Michigan Retailers Association.

Small businesses that hand count returnables won't have to take them back quite yet, but they're already worried about where they'll store all the bottles and cans.

"Hopefully not everybody comes at the same time because we don't have a lot of space in the back for everything like Meijer and places like that," said Steve Hull, manager of Sparty Liquor.

The biggest thing customers should know is that even if you're not able to return all of your cans at once, you will be able to get your dimes back in the future.

"Just know that the deposit is there. It's not going away. Eventually you will be able to take them back without any limitations, but just be patient," said Leix.

The treasury department will give more updates as the agency continues to phase the bottle deposit program back in.

If you want to avoid lines to return bottles and cans, you can put them in your recycling bin. 75% of the money will go to a state environmental fund. The rest goes to grocery stores.

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