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Michigan lawmakers discuss heavy fines for fraudulent bottle and can returns

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

People trying to redeem deposits on bottles and cans purchased outside of Michigan may face some stiff fines in the future.

Michigan loses millions of dollars every year cashing in returnable bottles and cans bought out of state.  Michigan has one of the highest bottle deposits in the country.

Tomorrow, a state House committee will discuss imposing fines, as much as five thousand dollars, on people who try to fraudulently redeem out-of-state returnables. They could also face jail time.

State Representative Kenneth Kurtz says his bills are intended to deter individuals who routinely bring in thousands of bottles and cans to Michigan.

“It would be a good incentive for people to think twice before they bring the bottles into Michigan and take away from our retailers or outlets like that,” says Kurtz.

Last year, a federal appeals court struck down a Michigan law requiring returnable bottles and cans contain Michigan-specific markings.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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