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Legislature moves to gut Michigan's bottle bill

Jun 5, 2012
June 5, 2012

The Senate Regulatory Reform Committee today voted out legislation that may be the beginning of the end for Michigan’s bottle bill. The proponents of HB 5660 say they are simply trying to exempt new drink “pouches” that are intended to be frozen then emptied into a glass. However, the language of the bill is much broader and would exempt any beverage container that combines metal with plastic, or plastic with paper.

“This bill violates both purposes of our bottle deposit laws -- to promote the use of recyclable containers and to reduce litter,” said James Clift, policy director of the Michigan Environmental Council. “Unfortunately, due to the vague nature of the language used in the bills, most Michigan containers with just slight modifications would be exempt from the law.”

When language was offered to the bill in an attempt to clarify that it was limited to just the new drink pouches, the committee rejected the amendment on a party line 2-5 vote.

These pouches are subject to the deposit laws in Maine, Vermont, British Columbia and Alberta -- states and provinces that rely on and promote tourism within their boundaries.

“We are very concerned that more and more products will be placed in these containers and end up on our beaches, along rivers and streams and our roadways,” said Clift. “We are disappointed that the legislature and the administration (which has taken no position on the bill) appear ready to disregard the intent of the original bottle bill and refuse to limit any exclusions to the new drink pouches."

The bill, introduced just 14 days ago, could end up on the Governor’s desk before this weekend.
Contact
James Clift:
(517) 256-0553
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