New bill could repeal Michigan’s 10 cent bottle deposit law

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Duke Medema graduated from Michigan State this past May. From western New York, he came to MSU on an ROTC scholarship.

But until his six year commitment starts in January, he needs to pass the time. He’s doing so, by working at Tom’s Party Store in East Lansing

“You got an army officer just sitting out hanging out just stacking bottles,” Medema said. “I love working here, I do, I love helping people, I love talking drinks, it’s almost like a little subculture.”

He works the counter, selling products, but he sometimes has to do the dirty job.

“This is worse than moping floors,” Medema said.

They have to sort cans and bottles that were returned, to send out for the bottle deposit refund.

“We have to organize it by distributor.”

10 cents for each one.

But a new bill introduced last week aims to repeal the bottle deposit law, eliminating the 10 cent tag on bottles and cans.

“The businesses do all the work and its very labor intensive because you have to put miller with miller bud with bud coke with coke so it takes time and takes energy,” Rich, the store owner, said in the back room.

The bill is intended to help promote community recycling programs, which will encourage recycling everything, not just bottles and cans

“I think everyone is interested in recycling at least 90 percent of the population if its convenient,” said LeRoy Harvey, Meridian Township Recycling Coordinator.

“I think we should continue the bottle bill and promote its success a bit more,” he said.

Rich has been at Tom’s for 56 years, and would love for the bill to be passed.

“It’s labor intensive for us and its worse on the consumer,” Rich said

Experts say the law that has been on the books for over 40 years likely won’t be repealed anytime soon.

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