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Bottles Up: Michigan Takes Aim At Hoosiers Cashing In On 10 Cent Refund

Sodacan_2Damn you, 'cross-the-border can smugglers! (Hat tip, kind reader, for this change of pace, courtesy of our neighbor to the North.)

"State lawmakers said they'll move to stop the smuggling of tens of millions of beverage cans and bottles into the state from Ohio and Indiana by people who cash in on Michigan's 10-cent deposit refund.

"The lawmakers said Thursday that smuggled cans and bottles cost Michigan's treasury and hurt beer and pop sellers who shell out more in bottle deposit refunds than they take in for deposits.

"The state gets about $10 million per year from bottle deposits that aren't refunded -- money that goes to an environmental cleanup fund.

"But lawmakers said that smuggling costs the state another $10 million in potential unclaimed deposits.

"The remedy is to require beverage manufacturers to put a code on all bottles and cans that are sold in Michigan -- an added cost to beer and soft drink manufacturers.

"Another law would require that automated bottle return machines be programmed to read the Michigan-only code so they accept only containers sold in Michigan.

"The Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association supports the proposal.

"Beverage wholesalers are most affected because they must pay retailers 10 cents for each returned bottle and can, even the illegal ones."


This raises the question of why Indiana doesn't have a deposit system itself. I have always assumed it was because of Ball Corp. and their role in manufacturing bottles and cans. This is a simple way to reduce litter and encourage recycling of at least of portion of the waste stream. Not to mention it is a great way for underemployed and unemployed Hoosiers to pick up a few dollars to scrape by as the study above so pointedly notes many have to do.

I grew up in Northern Indiana and I can attest to the fact that EVERYONE does this up there. So yes, it really is a problem for Michigan, but maybe if they stopped charging that stupid deposit they wouldn't have to worry about it.

""The Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association supports the proposal."

Sure they do ... they'll just sell more beer and wine in Michigan if they code the bottles ... people will just buy the bottles in Michigan. If you live that close to the border why not?

I remember as a kid, my dad always took the glass coke bottles back to the store. I don't remember if we got money back from them or not, I think we did. The Kroger used to have a conveyor belt type system in the back corner. We would always try to push the six-pack as hard as we could and watch to see how far back it would go into the dock area.

My guess is that as long as the population of this world keeps increasing, eventually we will see forced recycling. I have purchased the compact fluorescents bulbs, but I am not buying anymore more until my testing is complete. I am not keeping detailed reports of just how long these bulbs last. What gets me is that Al Gore and them are begging folks to buy them, pushing for governments to mandate them. If they are a mandate, then I won't care too much, as the price will likely go down to at least $1.00 or less. The problem I have is that I cannot find _any_ free recycling program. Granted, my first bulb just went out. It lasted for a little over year. Guess I should have read that notice about enclosed fixtures will reduce bulb life..yea, by about 50% at least..so much for the cost savings!! Hopefully now that I have a bulb waiting to be recycled, I will notice "fluorescent bulbs" on the two recycling programs I take advantage of. I can keep it till whenever, but the only other way to recycle them is to buy a box that holds about six for a certain dollar amount. Time for local recycling programs to really start looking at helping the public out if they want us to switch to these bulbs.

2:51, you're right about why we never got a "bottle bill" in Indiana.
As for those light bulbs, I too am trying those curly flourescent ones. So far, so good. As for those flat topped halogen bulbs that are oval shaped, save your money. I have six of them that didn't last a year that i'm returning per the guarantee.

Re: recycling fluorescent bulbs - most household hazardous waste programs in Indiana accept them for free from residents. A list of HHW programs and contact information is here:
and Indianapolis-specific information is at http://www.indygov.org/eGov/City/DPW/Residential/Recycling/tox-drops.htm

While you are there, take in your old pesticides and gasoline, too - make it a two'fer!

This is so funny. Liberals turning on Liberals.

We all know environmentalism is a hollow power grab, but to see Michigan come on out and admit that they aren't into recycling for the good of the environment, only to make a buck, is a rare moment of honesty.

"Environmentalism a hollow power grab"???? Maybe people who care about the environment just like to breathe clean air, drink clean water, reduce waste of our natural resources and preserve our planet for a few more generations. Nothing in the Michigan story had anything to do with making a buck -- they just don't want to refund deposits on bottles/cans that never paid a deposit in the first place -- that really isn't so hard to understand. What is hard to understand is why conservatives who whine about government waste don't see the advantage of a system that ensures that recyclable materials have an "economic incentive" to be disposed of and/or reused properly. Sounds like a very conservative concept to me.

It's not hard to understand unless you're a Conservatroll, 3:06.

They come here like moths to a lamp. You can either zap 'em or laugh at 'em.

Today, I choose laughter.

I grew up about 15 miles south of the Michigan line, and I never knew anyone who would bother to take cans to Michigan. We'd go there to get beer on Sunday, but wouldn't take cans. Maybe we missed out.

As for the flourescent bulbs, I went nuts and bought a couple packs at Costco about 3 years ago. I've broken a couple, but I haven't had one burn out yet. The light doesn't seem quite as bright, but I like them just fine.

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