Recycling study committee hears from ABI members

October 22, 2015

An interim study committee comprised of state Senate and House members met Monday to discuss Iowa’s bottle bill and ways the legislation could be improved. Iowa is one of 10 states with a bottle bill that provides for a five-cent deposit on some beverage containers. Stakeholders, including distributors, retailers, can redemption centers and recycling organizations offered different ideas for how to improve the state’s efforts to ensure containers are not ending up in landfills.

Those suggestions included everything from phasing the deposit out altogether and moving to a more robust recycling program, expanding the law to include more containers like water bottles and increasing the handling fee.

Distributors, including former ABI chairman Kirk Tyler, president of Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling, said the law is costly to comply with because they have to transport and store empty containers and have employees dedicated to the recycling effort.

When asked how well the bottle bill is working, one DNR official gave the initiative a 7.5 out of 10. The law was enacted in 1979 to help curb littering. Today, about 86 percent of containers with a deposit are recovered, according to the DNR.