MUCC, Legislature Helps Narrow Scope of Bottle Bill Changes

As summer starts kicking into high gear, it’s time for our favorite warm weather outdoor activities, grilling, and ice cold drinks. Of those activities, ice cold drinks, or at least the containers for certain ice cold drinks, has been the biggest topic of discussion at the capitol over the last few days.

The legislature is moving a bill, House Bill 5660, sponsored by Rep. Jim Stamas (R-Midland), that would create an exemption from the Michigan Bottle Deposit Law for pouch type containers that typically hold frozen margarita and daiquiri concoctions that are sold in most grocery and convenience stores. The containers are similar in makeup and in nature to Capri Sun drink pouches that have been on the market for years.

As many will remember, MUCC and its members were the driving force behind the citizen led initiative to create Michigan’s Bottle Deposit Law in 1976. This effort proved not only very popular, but very successful as well, as currently over 97% of cans and bottles that fall under the Bottle Deposit law are recycled.

House Bill 5660 was drafted in response to a Department of Treasury notification that stated the pouch containers would be required to have a deposit under the Bottle Deposit Law. This was problematic for grocers and retailers whose bottle return machines were not capable of accepting the pouch containers, and the container material proved very difficult, if not impossible, to recycle.

MUCC understood this predicament, but also had concerns that language used to exempt these pouch containers could be used in the future as a way for companies to get around the bottle deposit law. MUCC issued a letter through Sen. Rebekah Warren (D-Ann Arbor) on the Senate floor detailing these concerns and urging an amendment before it was scheduled for a vote today.

Thanks to the leadership of the bill sponsor Rep. Jim Stamas (R-Midland), Sen. Tory Rocca (R-Sterling Heights), Sen. Mike Green (R-Mayville), and Gov. Rick Snyder’s office, these concerns were addressed in a Senate amendment sponsored by Sen. Green. The bill language as amended clarified the exemption for the current pouches only that carry frozen contents or are intended to be frozen.

The bill easily passed both chambers in bipartisan fashion and will now be transmitted to the Governor for his signature.

  • Ken

    It is a shame there was not another amendment to this bill to include plastic water bottles with a 5 cent or 10 cent deposit required. California has a 5 cent deposit on such drinks. These water bottles are becoming a true blight on our roads and neighborhoods. also, I envision pouch type containers to be used for many drinks now that they are exempt.

    • CL

      Also a shame that retailers do not have to take back ALL deposited bottles. You dont have to take a lottery ticket back to where it was purchased to redeem.
      The state and bottles love the not having to redeem, I dont sell cause it makes them lots of money.

  • 3006longshot

    How about a .05 surcharge to pay for all the trash
    some customers will deposit roadside…. It’s time
    we step up to the special interest groups & quit
    letting them dictate terms…..

    • Adamjkotecki

      Amen to all the above comments. Its long overdue that all beverage containers be it carbonated or not should have a return. The amonut of non-returnable bottles strewn through or woods and waterways is appalling. Slobs will always be just that. At least with a deposit the odds of someone picking them up is greatly increased.

  • Amy Trotter

    Amendments to add water bottles and other non-carbonated beverages, as well as .05 surcharge were offered in either Senate Committee or on the Senate floor, but both were voted down.

    Also note that any changes to the law had to be passed by 75% majority since it was a citizen initiated law.

  • Jackpine1

    Water bottles needed to be added to the law.

  • Jerry Mc

    I also agree that a .05 or .10 deposit would help rid these plastic water containers from our streams, lakes, and woods. A bottle is a bottle why does legislature think there is such a difference? Can someone explain that to me?

  • Jerry Mc

    I also agree that a .05 or .10 deposit would help rid these plastic water containers from our streams, lakes, and woods. A bottle is a bottle why does legislature think there is such a difference? Can someone explain that to me?

  • Jpryce

    I actually asked Gov. Snyder on Facebook & he replied that he is not in favor of a deposit on water bottles, gatorade containers, etc. Why I do not know. Other than fast food wrappers, boxes, etc. most of the trash I pick up in my front yard in Superior Twp.(also where your home is Governor) is those types of containers. Jim Pryce

  • Ken

    I have contacted my Representative and State Senator many times about the abuse of our Water by Nestles and the plastic water bottles. NO RESPONSE. Just follow the money.

  • Jim

    Maybe some of the Senate should do some Adopt-A-Highway
    with us and see the water bottles, McDonalds bags and cups, loser lottery tickets, liquor bottles and cigarette wrappers that accumulate in only a few months. Sickening!

  • Pytelvet

    What can we do to add water and gatoraides to the deposit law? This is a tremendous amount of material being discarded.
    I have written my senator, rep and the governor with no
    response as state below. I have also read that Los Angeles county abolished plastic grocery bags as well.