House Environmental Protection Committee Hears about Recycling

February 1, 2018

The House Environmental Protection committee on Monday heard presentations by the Department of Natural Resources and Metro Waste Authority. The presentations were about the most recent Iowa Waste Characterization Study, an update on the bottle bill recovery rate and recycling in general. The DNR recently completed their fourth Waste Characterization Study, which occurs every five years. The study uses 15 host recycling facilities, and then random waste loads from garbage trucks going into those facilities are sorted. The DNR performs this study to figure out what materials are being recycled and uses the data to help local governments improve their existing programs and expand waste diversion programs.

The DNR also announced the bottle bill recovery rate is at 71 percent, which is down from 86 percent from a study conducted in 2007. The update shows there is approximately $28 million in unclaimed nickel deposits. Iowa still has one of the highest redemption rates for recyclables in the country.

The presentation earlier in the week was followed by a press conference where Rep. Andy McKean (R-Anamosa) on Tuesday announced he and 40 other legislators have signed on to legislation that would expand the existing bottle deposit law. The legislation would add a five-cent deposit, which would be applied to fruit juice, tea, sports drinks and bottled water under HF2155. The handling fee would also increase from one to two cents. Grocers would still be required to take cans and bottles if there isn’t a redemption center within one mile of that particular grocery store. ABI supported HF575 last year, which would have repealed the five-cent deposit and worked to expand curbside recycling programs across the state. ABI will be following both bills as they go through legislative sessions. Please provide your thoughts or comments on either bill to Brad Hartkopf.    

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