Michigan Can Deposit Explained

As many Midwesterners know, Michigan has a 10-cent deposit on cans and bottles, whereas the rest of the country caps it at 5 cents. Ever wonder how Michigan got the honor of paying and receiving back that extra 5 cents?

The Michigan United Conservation Clubs and hunters actually pushed for a higher deposit in the early 1970s to prevent the cans and bottles from becoming road-side litter. The law was enacted in 1978, and 5 cents was a huge jump (around 19.5 cents in today's money according to MeasuringWorth.com).

It makes you wonder if we should encourage states to raise the deposit to what they originally were meant to be. More people would probably return cans and bottles if they paid a $.20 deposit ($.40 in Michigan) on each of them!

In case you're wondering who gets and gives back the deposit money, it appears to be the State's Department of Environmental Quality. And for Michigan, they pay back 96% of the money they take in (not bad! I bet there are a lot of people who find it worthwhile to collect can and bottle litter for the $.10 deposit), and they give 25% of the leftover money to the retailers and 75% towards cleanup and pollution-prevention.

So is it worth a Seinfeld-esque trip to Michigan to make an extra $.05 per recyclable? Well, that's your call, but apparently it just hurts Michigan stores near the borders: if the merchants pay out more than they make in deposits, they take the hit. And in a state as financially strapped as Michigan is, it may just be too mean. Unless of course you also spend twice as much as you made on Michigan-based products. :)

(via freep.com)

1 comment:

  1. Geez, yeah, I never thought of that. 40 cents would make it so that if you bought a 12 pack of soda, you'd be paying $4.80 in deposit, like basically doubling the price that you pay (up front)