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Hundreds of Metro Detroiters line up to return months’ worth of bottles, cans

Stores required to resume bottle, can returns Monday (June 15)

STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. – When Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer implemented the stay-at-home order in March, she deemed grocery stores essential but shut down bottle and can returns.

Recycling sections at grocery stories were required to open by Monday (June 15), and it appears many Metro Detroiters have been doing their fair share of drinking over the last three months.

READ: Here’s everything that’s reopening today in Michigan after COVID-19 shutdown

“I’ve never drank so much pop,” resident Marlon Cook said.

“Why?” Local 4′s Kim DeGiulio asked.

“To try to get away from beer,” Cook said.

“Has this quarantine made you want to drink?" Kim asked.

“Definitely,” Cook said.

“Why?” Kim asked.

“Cabin fever,” Cook said.

Cook and hundreds of others lined up at the Kroger in Sterling Heights, eager to get rid of their cans.

“For three months, yes, just sitting in bags, just waiting to be returned,” resident Harold Warntz said. “It’s been in the guest room, to the point where there was no room for a guest.”

Each cart showed the drink of choice for the residents standing in line.

“Yeah, I do like Budweiser,” resident Dean Preister said.

Grocery stores estimate there’s about $65 million worth of unreturned bottles and cans in the state, which means they’ll be handing out lots of cash.

“I probably have a grand to return, at least,” high school sophomore Martina Palazzolo said.

Palazzolo said she can’t take credit for all of the cans. She’s been collecting them from neighbors to raise money for a science trip next year.

“We’re going to the Galapagos Islands with my school,” Palazzolo said.

Preister said he drank all of the Budweiser for his girlfriend.

“She went and got her haircut today, so that’s going to pay for that,” he said.

If there’s any money left, it’ll got toward fixing his own hair.

“They might charge me extra, it’s been so long,” Preister said.

If you have hundreds of cans at home, you will likely have to make multiple trips to the store. At the Kroger in Sterling Heights, residents can only return $25 worth of cans at a time.


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