91.7 Ann Arbor/Detroit 104.1 Grand Rapids 91.3 Port Huron 89.7 Lansing 91.1 Flint
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Auchter's Art: Consider the benefits

John Auchter for Michigan Public

Back in 2016, part of then candidate Donald Trump's platform (remember back to the quaint days when the Republican Party actually had platforms?) was a plank that for every new federal regulation two would be removed.

I thought, well, okay. I understand the feeling that there are too many rules and regulations — or more specifically, ones that are no longer needed or simply not relevant. But to arbitrarily remove two to make way for a new one? That seemed extremely shortsighted. (Remember back to the quaint days when "shortsighted" was the way you'd describe something you thought was dangerously stupid?)

But back to common ground: Michigan has had a bottle returns law now for nearly 50 years. It is fair to ask whether it is still a good idea to require a 10 cent deposit on soft drink and malt beverage containers. More so recently because the law has apparently been less effective. Recycling rates hit a high of 89% in 2019 but dropped during the complete system shutdown of the pandemic, falling to 75.6% in 2022.

This could be because retailers have been loath to return to making bottle returns as convenient as they were before the pandemic. It could also be because the public at large has been less motivated to take on a chore that pays back much less in buying power than it once did.

But before wiping the law off the books, it is also important to consider the benefits. Three out of four bottles/cans are returned for recycling in Michigan while only one out of four are in states without deposit laws. Is there an alternative that can guarantee the same or less landfill waste and litter?

Editor's note: John Auchter is a freelance political cartoonist. His views are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of Michigan Public, its management, or its license holder, the University of Michigan.

Since 1995 John has created Michigan-based editorial cartoons for the Grand Rapids Business Journal, the Grand Rapids Press, and MLive Newspapers. His cartoons are currently featured at MichiganPublic.org and are syndicated to newspapers through the Michigan Press Association. John is an active member of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists. You can view an archive of his editorial work and other cartoons at Auchtoon.com.
Related Content
  • Okay, so not having a candidate that you're excited about voting for in the upcoming primary next week is not really on the same level of pettiness, but I do think it qualifies as a first-world problem. I, too, wish for a selection of more engaging choices.
  • You'd think we'd know enough from history that there's nothing good down the hyper-nativist path. And yet, rallying to the nativist calls is often seen as the most patriotic thing we can do. For a country of immigrants, we sure have a particular disdain for immigrants.
  • The parents of the shooter had clearly been negligent in their responsibilities to their son and their community. Jennifer Crumbley will now have to face lawful consequences for her actions (or, more accurately, inaction). It doesn't fix anything, but justice does provide a reason to be hopeful that lessons have been learned.