Harsh Criminal Penalties For Illegal Bottle Returns in Michigan

Have you ever thought, maybe I can just return this coke bottle from Maine?

Did you get 10 cents for the coke bottle from Maine?

It was 1978 when Michigan’s bottle law went into effect. In the 35 years that have passed, bottle returns remain at a 97% rate. I know I am a stickler for taking my bottles back. I always want to make sure I get my deposit money back.

Have you ever had a bottle that was bought out of state? Maybe you took a trip across the country to see some family and you find bottles purchased in another state in the back of your car?

Well, according to the Detroit Free Press,

As a result, Michigan is losing about $8 million a year in deposits paid out for cans and bottles purchased outside the state, according the Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers.

The Break Down of the Penalties

Right now, the Michigan House of Representatives have proposed criminal penalties for returning out of state cans and bottles. Let me break it down.

  • Attempting to Return 100-10,000 Non Returnable Containers: This could land you a $1,000 fine.
  • A Second Conviction? That could land you up to 93 days of jail time.
  • Attempting to Return 10,000 or more Non Returnable Containers: This would equal a felony charge, up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Criminal Penalties and Sports Fundraisers?

While this has yet to leave the Michigan House of Representatives, it raises a lot of questions. Questions like what about my daughter’s college soccer team? Every year they have a massive bottle collecting fundraiser. They actually collect thousands of bottles. They are not the only sports team to raise money by collecting bottles.

What do you think of the penalties for returning non refundable containers?