Bi-Partisan Legislation Introduced to Modernize Iowa’s Bottle Bill

DES MOINES – Today bi-partisan legislation to modernize and improve Iowa’s Bottle Bill was introduced by Representative Andy McKean (R-Anamosa), the Vice Chair of the House Environmental Protection committee. He was joined by a cosponsor of the legislation, Representative Chuck Isenhart (D-Dubuque), Ranking member of the Environmental Protection committee, and Troy Willard of the Can Shed Redemption center in Cedar Rapids. In addition, 40 cosponsors have signed on to this legislation, with broad support from both Republicans and Democrats.  

Since 1978, Iowa’s Bottle Bill has thrived and continues to be overwhelmingly popular.  Iowans are familiar with this law; they know it works and they like it. This legislation will bring the Iowa Bottle Bill into the 21st century by modernizing the 5 cent deposit to include water, juice, and sports drink bottles. Most of these containers are not being recycled despite single-stream access and thus it is important the bottle bill be modernized to reflect today’s consumer behaviors. 

The legislation also increases the handling fee for retailers and redemption centers from 1 cent to 2 cents. This rate has remained unchanged since the bottle bill program began 40 years ago. This will increase access to recycling for Iowans living in rural and urban areas alike.

"I'm very pleased that 40 State Representatives, both Republicans and Democrats, joined me in sponsoring this legislation,” said State Representative Andy McKean.  “I think it is compelling evidence of the strong public support to keep and expand the Bottle Bill that's been good for both the environment and economic development."

“More Iowans are becoming interested in comprehensive materials management policies and programs. The goal of reducing, reusing, recycling and rethinking our consumption of natural resources is a noble one worthy of concerted legislative attention. To the extent that revisiting Iowa's beverage container redemption law may be involved, we should first consider modernizing that system to reflect the evolution in consumer tastes, changes in product packaging and the economics of recycling,” said State Representative Isenhart, “I am pleased to join Rep. McKean to jump-start that conversation in a non-partisan way.”

“Since starting my business 20 years ago, I have seen the bottle bill save billions of cans, plastic and glass bottles from ending up in the landfill,” said Troy Willard, “This legislation will modernize Iowa’s  bottle bill program, increasing access to recycling and allowing more opportunities for consumers and businesses to participate in keeping Iowa clean.”