Rhetoric is an understatement. I went to 2 of the recycling/bottle bill hearings and you would think that, according to the grocers and mom and pop shops, the world would end if the bottle bill was expanded.
Selling pop and beer is a big ticket item in all these stores. If it wasn't they wouldn't put up with the ... how shall I say...inconveniences (to put it mildly) that they claim are associated with bottle returns. If things have been as bad as claimed, these stores could have stopped selling these items, thus eliminating the need for these supposed dens of dirt and disease. But, surprise surprise....no one has stopped selling pop and beer.
The bottom line is that these retailers are making billions on pop and beer sales in Michigan and the deposit-return system has barely made a dent in those profits. It's about responsibility along along the chain, from producer to seller to consumer. It's too bad that the sellers seem to be having such a hard time living up to their end of the bargain.
The sad thing is that the retailers have complained sufficiently to cause the Senate Task Force to NOT recommend expanding the bottle bill in their recently released report. That's not to say that it won't be expanded....there are a WHOLE LOT OF PEOPLE who want to see the bottle bill expanded to include bottled water and sports drinks. But it would have been nice if the task force had come to the same conclusion that most of us in the environmental community have come to...that the bottle bill works and it should be expanded.