A broad and growing group of recycling advocates, business owners, elected officials, redemption center operators, environmental organizations and sportsmen groups joined together with state legislators at the Iowa Capitol on Tuesday, March 26, 2013 to launch efforts to modernize Iowa’s popular and successful five cent beverage container redemption law.
Nearly 35 years ago, the Legislature passed and Governor Robert D. Ray signed the deposit law on cans and bottles containing carbonated and alcoholic beverages. The law has since made Iowa a nationally renowned leader in recycling, saved tens of millions of containers from entering our landfills, waterways and ditches and helped create hundreds of good Iowa jobs. A recent poll conducted by J. Ann Selzer and Co. for the Des Moines Register shows that an overwhelming 64 percent of Iowans support modernizing the popular and successful law.
Yet, in the years since the law was enacted, our technology has improved and our lifestyles have evolved. Water, sports drinks and other non-carbonated beverages are now on the market, yet their containers do not include the nickel deposit. As a result, those bottles are now entering our landfills, ditches and waterways at nearly three times the rate of their bottle bill counterparts and we are losing out on precious jobs, valuable container materials and a more pristine environment.
“Modernizing Iowa's Bottle Bill will have a direct and positive impact on Iowa’s economy by not only preserving hundreds of Iowa jobs, but by also adding important new jobs to Iowa's economy,” said Senator Robert Dvorsky (D-Coralville), the lead sponsor of the ‘Iowa Better Bottle Bill’ in the Iowa Senate and the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “By acting on this legislation to include water and other non-carbonated beverage containers to the law this year we can not only help create good Iowa jobs but we can take important and necessary steps to clean up our environment and make our great state an even better place for generations to come.”
According to Mick Barry, the President of M2B2 LLC and a longtime Iowa recycling executive and advocate, a better bottle bill will help small businesses grow and will also provide new ways for community organizations to make a difference.
“Countless civic and community organizations, schools, charities and churches have used the bottle bill to raise money to make a difference in the lives of those around us,” said Barry. “Governor Robert Ray and then-State Representative Terry Branstad had a vision 35 years ago to make this the premier recycling program and the cornerstone of Iowa's highly successful integrated multi-faceted recycling processes that has become a model for states across the nation and internationally. Iowans are familiar with this law, they know it works and they like it. It’s good for our communities, it’s good for our environment, it’s good for our economy and the system is already in place to handle the new containers. It just makes sense.”
Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes, who is currently working on a new study regarding the bottle bill, noted in a 2011 study that over 500 million containers that Iowan's currently use and that now largely end up in landfills would be recovered by modernizing the Iowa Bottle Bill. The report also notes that modernization would simultaneously help in creating of over 300 new Iowa jobs while protecting the more than 870 jobs that already exist today. Redemption points, such as retailers and local redemption centers, will earn better compensation, at no cost to consumers.
A list of notable groups and organizations that are part of the constantly growing Iowa Better Bottle Bill group include the Iowa Recycling Association, Saint-Gobain Containers (Verallia North America), Iowa Environmental Council, Container Recycling Institute, Iowa Rivers Revival, Glass Packaging Institute, Iowa Association of Counties (ISAC), Trees Forever, Redemption Centers of Iowa, Iowa Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), Iowa Farmers Union, University of Iowa ECO Hawk, 1000 Friends of Iowa, Izaak Walton League of Linn County, Iowa Chapter of the Wildlife Society, Iowa Association of County Conservation Boards, Iowa Ground Water Association, League of Women Voters of Iowa, Raccoon River Watershed Association, Iowa Chapter of the Izaak Walton League and countless other individuals, elected officials, and civic organizations.
For more information, including the latest updates on the Iowa Better Bottle Bill, visit www.IowaBottleBill.com