House Bill 5421 could change how you recycle

glass recycling

LANSING, Mich. – HB 5421, currently making its way through committee, would require grocery stores and gas stations to accept recycling during a set time of day moving forward.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been noted that fewer people have been returning their cans and bottles, and grocery stores across the state have accordingly reduced their bottle return hours. This change has led to legislation that would create a set time between 8 a.m. and 11 p.m. that grocery stores and gas stations must accept returns.

“I have a number of residents complaining that they tried to take their cans and bottles back to the stores. And the stores either refused altogether or they severely restricted the hours,” bill sponsor Rep. Julie Rogers (D), Kalamazoo, shared.

Rep. Rogers observed that most bigger retailers accept containers as required, while other smaller stores and gas stations don’t have consistent hours. Andrea Bitely of the Michigan Retailers Association stated that the challenges grocers were facing during the pandemic haven’t completely gone away.

“The sanitation of can and bottle returns is still something that exists, the ability to properly staff their store as well as the can and bottle return aspect of a grocery store are really challenging aspect of their business,” Bitely explained.

The Michigan Retailers Association is also in favor of the bill, indicating that it gives stores time to clean and maintain their machines and also reduces theft at smaller stores and gas stations disallowing returns past a certain time of day.

The bill is still currently in committee. Rep. Rogers hopes to have it out of committee and on the house floor for a vote soon.

— with files from


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