The first bottle bill-related legislation filed this session, Senate File 59, passed subcommittee Wednesday on a 2-1 vote. The bill would double the redemption center handling fee to two cents per container, while removing bottle and can redemption from retail stores.
Sen. Mark Segebart (R-Vail) sponsored the legislation and chaired the subcommittee. As a strong bottle bill supporter, he said it was important to address the concerns of four constituencies: grocery stores, redemption centers, bottlers, and consumers. Sen. Segebart said the deposit system has “saved Iowa a lot of mess,” and noted he had once seen about 30 cans on the side of the road on the way to church. By the time he returned home, all of the cans had been picked up. He said that means the system is working, but it’s important to make a series of small adjustments, which are long overdue.
Sen. Claire Celsi (D-West Des Moines) disagreed, and said that with the “flood” of plastic water bottles going into landfills and dumped on roadsides, the legislature should add deposits to non-carbonated, non-alcoholic plastic beverage containers. She also proposed doubling the deposit to ten cents per container. Sen. Ken Rozenboom (R-Oskaloosa), who chairs the chamber’s Natural Resources Committee, said he would be interested in looking at a separate bill dealing with plastics in the future.
Ultimately, Senators Segebart and Rozenboom signed-off on SF 59, while Sen. Celsi remained opposed. The measure now goes to the full Natural Resources Committee.