Michigan grocery store managers might want to schedule a few more clerks to work on June 15.
Customers will likely be showing up that day pushing cartloads of soft drink and alcoholic cans and bottles that they collected in quarantine.
The Michigan Treasury Department announced Monday that June 15 is the day grocers have to resume accepting returnable bottles and cans and refunding the 10-cent-per-can deposit after a nearly three-month halt to Michigan's prominent recycling program.
On March 23, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer temporarily halted the bottle deposit recycling program over concerns that dirty tin cans, glass and plastic bottles could help spread the novel coronavirus.
The resumption of Michigan's bottle return program was announced Monday after Whitmer lifted her stay-at-home order and eased restrictions on numerous service and hospitality industry businesses.
The Treasury Department's notice reinstating the program says customers will be limited to returning 250 cans or bottles daily, or $25 in deposit refunds.
Grocery stores and supermarkets will have to establish special or limited hours for in-store recycling facilities and periodically close bottle deposit return machines for cleaning, according to the Treasury Department notice.
In an attempt to initially limit the number of bottles and cans being returned, supermarkets and other retailers will have to limit their weekly bottle return volume to 140 percent of their average weekly collection from April and May 2019, the Treasury Department said.
In mid-May, the Detroit Free Press reported there was as much as $50 million worth of bottles and cans that have been bought since the coronavirus shutdown and gone unreturned, either piling up in residential and workplace store spaces or being discarded in trash or curbside recycling bins.
That number grows by 70 million unredeemed cans and bottles a week, according to Tom Emmerich, chief operating officer of Schupan & Sons Recycling.
Schupan and Sons, which has processing facilities in Wixom and Wyoming, typically handles about 160 million cans, 100 million plastic bottles and 100 million glass bottles per month.
The recycling company's operations came grinding to a halt during the coronavirus shutdown, even while alcoholic beverages and soft drinks remained readily available for sale in supermarkets, liquor and convenience stores.