Working to increase the overall recycling rate in Michigan, advocates want to expand the state's already successful bottle bill.
The 10 cent deposit on plastic bottles in Michigan, which began in 1976, has created a 95.9 percent bottle return rate, according to Central Michigan Life. But Michingan's overall recycling rate is only about half the national rate. So supporters want to expand the 10 cent deposit to include water and juice bottles.
PIRGIM Program Associate Eric Mosher said an expansion of the bottle law would significantly reduce this solid waste and subsequently increase the state’s recycling rate.
"Basically, recycling reduces solid waste," Mosher said. "Michigan has a low overall recycling rate compared to its neighbors. Only Indiana has a rate lower than ours. It will prevent hundreds of thousands of containers from going to landfills and becoming roadside litter."
The Michigan proposal is currently in committee, but supporters are hopeful they’ll be able to move it forward during the legislative session.
In California, plastic Beverage Containers have now surpassed Aluminum in market share, but the recycling rate for plastic remains below 70% (rates for Aluminum are 97%; and Glass is 84%). Last year more than 350,000 tons of plastic containers were littered and landfilled while California plastic processors struggle to get a sufficient supply of recycled plastic to meet manufacturer demand.
"The promise of recycling in California is one that conserves resources, conserves energy and it’s also creating jobs," says Mark Murray, Executive Director of Californians Against Waste on Capital Public Radio. "We’ve got a lot of recycling manufacturers in California who are clamoring for more materials."
Including more plastic beverage containers in beverage container recycling laws doesn’t just make good recycling sense; it makes good economic sense.