Special Report

What Your State Will Pay You to Recycle

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The Baked Bean State accepts beer, malt, soft drinks, and mineral water containers that have to be either a sealable bottle, can, jar, or carton. Each is worth 5 cents. Also, they have to be made of glass, metal, plastic or a combination of the three. Biodegradables — containers that can decay naturally — are excluded.

Massachusetts also has a Recycling Dividends Program (RDP) that provides payments to municipalities that have initiated specific waste reduction, reuse, and recycling programs. The state also has so-called pay-as-you-throw programs.

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Michigan pays 10 cents for beer containers, wine coolers, canned cocktails, soft drinks, and mineral water bottles. They have to be airtight, under one gallon, and made of metal, glass, paper, or plastic.

In 2018, Michigan state Rep. Joe Bellino proposed repealing bottle deposits entirely, saying the items should be processed by community recycling programs. His proposal never got beyond the legislative committee.

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Minnesota has been upgrading its recycling program, introducing commercial composting and installing new collection stations. A statewide recycling refund program has been recommended.

It proposed a deposit of 10 cents for every beverage container of up to one gallon. Containers could be for beer, malt, wine, distilled spirits, carbonated and non-carbonated soft drinks, flavored and unflavored bottled water, fruit juice, milk, and tea and coffee drinks, regardless of dairy-derived content.

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Mississippi throws out enough garbage a year to cover 600 football fields, and 40% to 60% of it is recyclable. The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) was accepting grant proposals from possible new cooperative recycling systems or the expansion of existing ones. A total of about $1 million was available.

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State law encourages government agencies to buy and use products made from recycled materials when the product’s price is within 10% of the price of the same type of product made from non-recycled materials. Particular emphasis is put on recycled oil, retread tires, compost, and recycled paper.