Bottle and Can Recycling

Hi everyone!

This is a scheduled post. I am away having a wonderful week with my family!

The other day I cleaned out the laundry room of all our returnable bottles and cans. And it dawned on me that very few states have bottle/can deposits.  So, for those of you who live in states that do not have deposits, I thought I would share with you what is a typical recycling area at all the grocery stores around here.

Michigan has one of the highest bottle/can deposit. Each one is .10 cents. That means whenever you purchase a deposit refund bottle, you pay the extra .10 cents at the time of purchase. So, if you buy a 12 pack of pop, you will pay an addition $1.20 for the deposit.

So, for most of us, you do NOT throw your cans/bottles away. You take them back for your deposit. Now, not everyone does this. When we were kids, my dad would take us on walks and we would gather discarded bottles/cans along side of the roads and return them for cash! This was very exciting for us kids! Today, kids still can earn free money by doing this same thing. Of course now, you can also scrounge through garbage cans at gas stations, stores, parks ….you name it and gather up bottles/cans that were thrown away by someone else. 

So, off to the recycling center at my local Kroger.

misc 090This is what the machines look like. There are two different machines. One for cans and plastic bottles and one for glass bottles. The big black hole is where you put your bottle/can into. It has a little conveyor belt type thing and it stops in the middle of the conveyor belt and scans the UPC code. Then it is crushed and dropped into large bins in the back. Each time a bottle/can gets scanned, the little screen adds another .10 cents to your total.

misc 091You see how I have 2 cans and a plastic bottle sitting on the ledge? Well, the two cans are from Whole Food and the bottle is from Walgreens. The machines will only accept the bottles/cans of the drinks that the store sells. You don’t have to buy it at that store, but it must be a brand they carry. So, these will have to be taken back to the store brand store. When you are finished with your last bottle, you push the green button and a receipt comes out. You take that to any cashier for your refund. Generally, most of the time, you do some grocery shopping and you just have that amount deducted from your total.

misc 093This is kind of an overview of the recycle center. Most stores look about the same way. I feel bad because I took pictures in the middle of the day and the poor workers at Kroger hadn’t had a chance to clean up. They are generally kept pretty clean. Sorry Kroger!

See that shopping cart down there? That is filled with all  my returns.

misc 094The recycle areas have a clean up area. Your hands get sticky from dealing with all the bottles/cans that have been in bags.

misc 095There is always recycle plastic bag areas and a large garbage can. As you can see, not everyone decided to recycle plastic bags.  

misc 096 And this is a standard at all stores. A $25.00 limit on bottle returns a day.

That day, I returned enough bottles/cans to pay out $20.00. I went home and picked up Troy and we went to the Texas Roadhouse for dinner and used the money from the deposit refund. LOL

Well, I hope you enjoyed your little tour and guide through Michigan's bottle refund centers. I thought this was a very good example of thriftiness to share here on The Thrifty Groove!

Have a wonderful day!


  1. That was very, very interesting. I'm so totally into recycling ever since I found that awesome sled in the dumpster at our local landfill station. We are very careful to save all bottles, cans, plastic, and paper. A county truck comes every other week and picks up all your recycables. The kids and I watched a DVD on how things are recycled, it was fascinating. I think Michigan's way sounds like a bit more work for the individual, but if you get enough money for dinner out, I'd vote for it in Virginia :)


  2. We had a deposit here in NH when I was a little kid and we used to pick up bottles on the side of the road for candy money. Unfortunately we don't any more so there is more trash out there.

    It might be easier to just bring it to the recycling than go through that. However, I'd vote for it to reduce garbage. No pick up in my part of town.

  3. We have been recyling in our town for years now. WE are blessed in one way that we have it picked up at our home each and every week. Presently our Niagara area is only allowed ONE bag of garbage a week. That means you better recyle A LOT or you have to pay for extra bags of garbage to be thrown out! I have four HUGE bins of recyle go out each week. Two are filled with carboard, paper, and the other two are cans and plastic, jars, etc. Also we have bins filled with organics (scraps of food, coffee grounds, empty egg cartons and take out coffee cups) another bin that is filled with weeds, leaves, twigs, etc.....For a family of five, we are presently down to about half to 3/4 of a bag of garbage a week. Not bad!!!

  4. That is the coolest recycle center I have seen in a store! Our stores only have the bins were you can recycle your paperbags, plastic bags and egg cartons.

    We collected coke bottles at the beach when I was a kid. We would bring them home and wash the sand out and get a nickel a bottle at the convenient store for them. Today we recycle everything,cardboard food containers,tin cans, magazines, soap jugs and bottles, everything. And we have very little household trash for pick-up .

    We save our cans and our neighbor saves her cans for my son-in-law. He takes them to a giant industrial recycle center and makes enough money to pay for his gas to and from work.

    Just think, if they gave money for all trash our world would be a whole lot cleaner!~Ames

  5. I use these all time being a Michigan resident myself. They are absolutely wonderful! It is amazing how much money you spend/get back without even realizing it.
    Thanks for sharing and hope your week with the family is fabulous!! love those times!!

  6. Wow, I never gave it a 2nd thought. I thought it was done the same way everywhere. Here in CA we recycle a lot. Many people just toss their cans and bottles in the recycle bin and the trash man picks them up.

    But, those who wish to can bring them in and they weigh them then give you cash for the bottles and cans. It's only 5 cents a bottle/can here though. But at least we don't have stand there and put them in a machine one at a time. We also have no limit as to the amount we can cash in a visit.

    I take the cans and bottles and then the money goes to our Girl Scout troop fund. All the girls bring their bottles and cans and it helps fund out troop :)

    Maybe I will do a post to show how we do it here. I found it very interesting to see it is different where you were so maybe someone would be interested to see how it is done here :)

  7. oh you did really well! $20.00 is well $20.00 buck!! or dinner out!! good for you!
    have a wonderful holiday~

  8. That is pretty cool! We recycle ours through our trash company and pay them to take them away!


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