Canning the Cans

When it comes to recycling empty bottles and cans, Michigan is the place to be. It's the only state in the nation where each empty ...
by | September 10, 2007
 

Cans

When it comes to recycling empty bottles and cans, Michigan is the place to be. It's the only state in the nation where each empty bottle will score you a dime. Everywhere else, you just get a nickel.

So it probably seems like a no-brainer that residents who live in states near Michigan might just drive across state lines to boost their recycling paycheck. (Hey, it worked for Kramer. Well, actually, it didn't.)

Anyway, Michigan pols now want to crack down on people who import (or, in their words, "smuggle") the cans in to the Wolverine State:

State lawmakers said they'll move to stop the smuggling of tens of millions of beverage cans and bottles into the state from Ohio and Indiana by people who cash in on Michigan's 10-cent deposit refund. ...

The state gets about $10 million per year from bottle deposits that aren't refunded -- money that goes to an environmental cleanup fund.

But lawmakers said that smuggling costs the state another $10 million in potential unclaimed deposits.

It makes sense that lawmakers want to stop abuse of the state's system. And God knows Michigan needs all the revenue help it can get.

But it's unfortunate that the apparent solution is to make it less lucrative to recycle, to discourage people from turning in their cans.

Maybe the better solution would be for other states to increase the amount of money you can get for your cans. Isn't it time to update those 40-year-old nickel-deposit laws anyway?

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