LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan lawmakers want to crack down on can and bottle smugglers they say are scamming Michigan for undeserved recycling refunds, corrupting a generous 10-cent per container payback policy once infamously portrayed in a "Seinfeld" episode.
Lawmakers say illegal refunds are a serious problem, especially in border counties. They want tougher penalties on people who try to return out-of-state cans and bottles for refunds on un-marked containers bought in neighboring states.
Republican Rep. Kenneth Kurtz of Coldwater recently introduced a bill that would create penalties for those attempting to return fraudulent containers. Current law sets penalties only for those who actually return fraudulent containers.
Michigan's deposit refund is the highest in the nation. Nine other states, including California, New York and Massachusetts, have nickel deposits on most containers.