Skubick: Officials consider changes to state's bottle policy - KMSP-TV

Tim Skubick: Officials consider changes to state's bottle return policy

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LANSING, Mich. (WJBK) -

Far as anyone can tell, other than in the bottle industry, Michigan's 10 cent bottle deposit law enjoys strong support from regular folks who in 1976 decided to reduce litter by slapping the highest deposit in the nation on pop and beer bottles.

This came after a costly and bitter campaign with the industry fighting as hard as it could to bottle this up. But the Michigan United Conservative Club, the Michigan Farm Bureau and the League of Women Voters prevailed as the number of citizens voting for this law outnumbered the citizens voting for president that year. It garnered a respectable 64% of the vote.

So perhaps a word to the wise is in order as a heretofore undisclosed "work group" is busy studying ways to possibly revamp the law. The work group is not under the tutelage of the bottle industry, as you might expect, but in the very state department charged with protecting the environment which the bottle law was designed to do.

"Dan Wyant from the Department of Environmental Quality has a work group meeting on how to improve Michigan's re-cycling rate across the board.  Some recommendations are coming but it's not clear what role the bottle bill plays in that," reports Sen. Rebekah Warren (D-Ann Arbor.) who wants to protect the law.

After nosing around, it was learned that one of the possibilities would be to allow some stores that have to take the bottles back, to opt out of the law sending their customers instead to newly created regional redemption centers.

Just a second, suggests the current head of the MUCC.  That's a non-starter for Erin McDonough who confirms that she had heard about the suggestion.

"We are very concerned," echos Jim Cliff over at the Michigan Environmental Council who thinks the work group ought to be working on expanding the bottle bill to include containers that weren't even invented in 1976 but litter the country side now.

An industry source reveals, the bottle folks may be willing to expand the law to include those newly invented containers if the greens agree to the redemption centers.

While all of this is in the "concept" stage it could lay the groundwork for an interesting compromise where each side gets something it wants but has to give up something it doesn't want to get there.

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