Traverse City Record-Eagle

Body & Soul

June 14, 2014

Life As I Know It: Bottled beverages bring burdens

Our state has lots of laws.

Each of our worlds, our businesses and our lifestyles are guided, regulated and dictated by all sorts of these laws.

But since 1976, no other law has had more impact on how Michiganders go about their daily lives than what is contained within Michigan Combined Laws Sections 445.571 through 445.576, otherwise known as the Michigan Beverage Containers Initiated Law of 1976.

It is commonly known as the “Bottle Bill” and since 1976, every one of us in Michigan has been adjusted by it.

Every trip to the grocery store, convenience store, drug store, gas station, vending machine or any other place in the state that sells carbonated beverages results in the purchaser paying the price and getting an errand.

It will become your responsibility, from the moment of purchase, to now keep track of, rinse out, bag, inventory, not trip over and eventually return that little 10-cent investment, and all of its brethren that you have accumulated.

Don’t think I am on a rant about the Michigan Bottle Bill, because I’m not. Michigan is one of only 11 states that have beverage container deposit laws and it is evident. Anybody who has driven across this great country of ours could probably tell you which states those are, given the amount of roadside trash that is missing from our landscape. I think, in that vein, that the bottle bill has been a worthwhile piece of legislation.

Other than that though, I find it a huge distraction.

Last fall, I collected and bagged some pop and beer cans from a fundraiser. My mission was simply to return this bag of “returnables” and then give that cash to our treasurer.

That was in early December.

From December to March, those cans rode around in the trunk of my car waiting to be returned. For four months I either forgot about them, was standing in my home garage and not near a store when I did remember them, or was actually at a store and just too cold and miserable to take on the equally miserable process of returning a bag full of sticky, stinky cans.

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