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Bottle Deposits Are My Frenemy

My love-hate relationship with recycling.

I am sure you all know what I am talking about. I don't know anyone who doesn't enjoy getting an extra $5 back at the grocery store. Unfortunately this only happens on the day that you return all of your empty pop and beer cans and bottles. There is a bag or a box in your kitchen, pantry, laundry, mud room, or garage where all of the "empties" go. After any sort of gathering at your home, guests ask where the "returnables" should be placed. Either that or they use them for ashtrays.

These 12 and 20 oz beverage containers sit and collect until there are enough that it is worth your time to stand at the temperamental machine, in a 12 foot by 8 foot area that smells undesirably, while trying to place one bottle in at a time, bottom end first, into a machine that undoubtedly becomes full when you are only halfway through your cart. Not to mention, the store you are standing in to return these does not accept the brand of can in your cart, nor will it return the crushed cans, or those missing labels. While the machine is beeping with the volume of an emergency response vehicle at a five alarm fire, you contemplate what would happen if the plastic got put in the glass machine, if the mail lady has been by your house yet, and how exactly you can cook the broccoli tonight so that the kids might eat it.

After the bin has been emptied in the back by a minimally paid customer service employee in no hurry, you go back to your task of obtaining carpal tunnel from repetitive motions, hit the button on the machine which gives you the magic receipt and go about your business, hopefully after using the hand sanitizer.  One would also hope that after that amount of work to recycle, you placed the cardboard and plastic in the appropriate recycling locations, and not the overflowing garbage can.

This cycle is probably repeated about once a month, not counting the three trips to the grocery store that you forgot to bring these vessels of money back with you, or your trip back into the store to turn your receipt into cash, having forgotten it in the checkout lane while you were searching for your store brand rewards card in your wallet and repeating the "No candy before dinner" mantra to your children. 

How could one not love this system? In case you were wondering, or not aware, Michigan does offer the highest deposit out of all of the states, and any unclaimed deposits also go towards recycling. More information about the actual law itself can be found here : http://www.michigan.gov/documents/deq/dnre-whmd-sw-mibottledepositlawFAQ_318782_7.pdf.

One thing I wonder though, is why water bottles are not included in this. I am not saying that I have enough time to return all of my water bottles mind you, but a heck of a lot of water bottles are making their way into landfills because they are not included in this system. I don't know about you, but we have Fenton city water in our home, that we cannot drink. It is so heavily chlorinated that if you were to fill the bathtub with water, it is blue like a pool and smells like one too. We drink a lot of bottled water. I hate throwing away the bottles. I try and refill my gallon jugs at the store, but we still end up buying several cases of water bottles a month, especially in the summer time when we are out at the beach, camping, and spending a lot of time outside, much as I would expect you do as well.

How much more room in our landfills would there be if no more plastic bottles went into them? That would be an awful lot of revenue back in my pocket, I can say that much.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Ani Muircastle August 11, 2012 at 04:35 PM
Yeah - Fenton water! My water is not chlorinated but if you fill anything white with it, it looks like urine. If we recycle and keep our footprint down many of these water bottles would not end up in the landfills.
C.C. August 11, 2012 at 11:16 PM
Instead of tossing those used plastic water bottles in your trash and sending them to the landfill - toss them in your RECYCLE bin and recycle them! Save yourself some money and save landfill space by recycling those water bottles.
Terri White August 12, 2012 at 09:11 PM
Unfortunately, C.C., every time I leave recyclables out, they are never taken. Lately I have taken to storing them in my home, along with all of my paper board products and newspapers, and taking them to Royal Oak Recycling in White Lake, located on M-59. They do drop-off recycling services for paper, metal, and household plastics number 1-7, as well as secure document shredding, and recycling of items such as TV's and computer monitors. They also pay per pound. They are located in the same parking lot as Aunt Millie's Factory Bread outlet, so I always make a trip of it, to make it worth 2.5 cents per pound that they pay. However, this post was more about why not put a bottle deposit on them. Thanks for reading.
EclecticCitizen August 14, 2012 at 02:57 AM
I agree with you Terri. We not only need a bottle deposit on the plastic bottles, but on ALL glass bottles too. These items should not be going to the landfills. And like you, when I try to recycle, I have the same problem you do; The recycling portion does not get picked up.

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