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Grocers Stop Accepting Bottle Returns

(March 25, 2020 5:36 PM) The Michigan Retailers Association and several industry trade groups are advising retailers that they can temporarily stop accepting bottle and can returns as of March 24 through April 13.

According to the MRA, the Governor’s office clarified that they do not consider bottle and can returns under the state’s bottle deposit law an essential service under Executive Order 2020-21.

The state has indicated that the FAQ on the Executive Order will be updated soon to include clarification in writing.

The MRA requested the state follow Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Oregon and Vermont’s lead and suspend its enforcement of the bottle deposit law to allow workers to focus on providing essential services and avoid contamination from surfaces that may be harboring the coronavirus.

A spot check of area grocers and retailers confirms that stores have stopped accepting bottle and can returns.  Both Polly’s and Meijer have stopped accepting returns.

Michigan trade organizations, Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association, Midwest Independent Retailers Association and Michigan Retailers Association all say the change is meant to protect employees who have to handle the empty bottles.

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