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Expanded Bottle, Can Returns Will Begin In Two Weeks

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People looking to get rid of returnable bottles and cans that have been piling up will have more options starting in a couple weeks. Starting October 5th, any store with a machine to accept returnables will have to start taking them.

Ron Leix with the Michigan Department of Treasury said this is part of a planned, slow re-opening of the state’s retail sector.

“We’re in the middle of a pandemic, the COVID-19 pandemic, and we want to make sure that bottle returns are safe for everybody,” he said. “That includes the workers at the store and the individuals returning cans and bottles back to the retailer.”

Leix said suspending returns allowed stores to move employees into more crucial roles during the COVID-19 crisis, and reduced the risk to customers and workers.

Leix said stores can limit returns to no more than $25 per visit, the same as before the COVID-19 orders. And they can limit the hours that returns will be accepted. Stores without machines get to decide whether to accept returnable bottles and cans.

“Not every store will be accepting cans and bottles yet,” said Amy Drumm with the Michigan Retailers Association. “There are still stores that don’t have reverse vending machines, that hand count those or sort them by hand. And those will be continued to be allowed to put that on hold.”

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