Davis Index: Market Intelligence for the Global Metals and Recycled Materials Markets

Michigan, the only state in the US to suspend its used beverage cans (UBCs) redemption program during the COVID-19 related shutdowns plans to restart the activity from June 15.


The state government announced, however, that it would be setting an upper limit on the number of UBCs that can be returned per day. Moreover, in the first phase of reopening this facility  retailers who shop fronts or vending machines for collections will be allowed to collect the cans by ensuring minimal person-to-person contact.


The facility is scheduled to begin in a phased manner and retailers are expected to comply with mandatory protocols to ensure safety of the workers. In the first phase, the state will also limit the number of available and operating reverse vending machines. 


Governor Gretchen Whitmer suspended this facility in late March in the view of the COVID-19 pandemic considering it as a non-essential activity, while the grocery stores were allowed to function as part of the essential services. However, reports in late May estimated that the shutdown of these facilities had resulted in state residents being stuck with around $50mn worth of recyclable beverage cans and bottles.


Under this program, consumers can deposit their UBCs or beverage bottles at approved collection centers and get around 10¢ per bottle. These containers are then picked up by liquor and soft beverage companies though the state-run container deposit system and sold to scrap yards for processing.


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