No Deposit, No Return? State House votes to exempt drink pouches from bottle deposit law

May 29, 2012

The state House voted today to exempt drink pouches from Michigan’s bottle deposit law.  The bill passed on a 91 to 19 vote.

The issue pits the grocery and beverage industries against environmentalists.   The pouches are made of plastic, aluminum, and paper.    They are not biodegradable or recyclable.

Jim Stamas is the House Majority Floor Leader. He says drink pouches are not littering the state.

“These pouches have been on the market. These pouches are currently on the market. They’re not on our beaches. They're not on our roadside,” says Stamas.

Jeff Irwin is a state representative from Ann Arbor.    He argued on the House floor that the bottle deposit law has helped clean up the state…

“We don’t see beer bottles and pop bottles on our beaches and our roadsides,” says Irwin,  “What we do see is plenty of water containers…plenty of juice containers…blowing paper…all of that serving to make Michigan a less beautiful state.”

If the House bill becomes law, it would preempt a state Treasury determination that the deposit could apply to alcoholic drink pouches.   Environmental groups say the state should not encourage packaging that’s not recyclable.