Future of bottle bill in question - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Future of bottle bill in question

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Before Iowa's law could be changed, the nearly 40-year-old bottle bill may need to be recycled.

Currently, consumers pay a five-cent deposit when they purchase a beverage in a glass, metal, or plastic container, and they can receive a five-cent refund when they return the container to a redemption center. House Study Bill 163 would repeal that program, and replace it with a more comprehensive recycling and litter reduction program. 

The bill advanced out of a full committee, but Republicans say the bill faces a long process before it would become law. 

Iowa's bottle bill was created in an effort to help reduce litter. The program has propelled Iowa to one of the best recycling rates in the country.

Supporters of the repeal argue that the deposit program is outdated, and Iowa needs a more comprehensive recycling program. 

However, some communities who use the money from the bottles directly to fund events and programs, disagree, saying this would take away a valuable funding resource. 

Darwin Rittgers, of Waverly, is a Co-chair for Waverly Heritage Days. Rittgers says taking these bins away could mean a cut for their program. 

"Golly that's one of our main sources for Waverly Heritage days, and has been for years-we've relied on that," said Rittgers. 

In Waverly alone, there are several donation based organizations who have bottle bins outside of stores like Fareway, Walgreens, and Casey's. 

Rittgers says they empty their bins once every week. 

"Several years back, there was a big question if we could have the fireworks as part of our festival, and we literally would rely on our canned collections for the fireworks," said Rittgers. 

Those who want to replace the bottle bill argue that the bottle deposits only account for three percent in the total waste stream.

"It's more than just the nickel in the big picture for us," said Rittgers. "It also brings the awareness that we needs to recycle those cans so they're not getting into the landfill."

The Iowa Grocer Industry Association is a proponent of the bill. President, Michelle Hurd says the current bill is no longer forward thinking. 

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