Rep. McKean Introduces Legislation to Expand Bottle Bill, Increase Handling Fee

Bottle bill issues gained steam the third week of the 2019 legislative session, with Rep. Andy McKean (R-Anamosa) introducing a bill that would overhaul the current system.  Under HF 181, the container handling fee would double to two cents per container, the first raise for redemption centers since the bottle bill was implemented in 1979.

The legislation would also dramatically expand the beverages subject to a five-cent deposit.   It would apply to most water bottles, as well as coffee and tea beverages regardless of their milk content.  (In some bottle bill states, these beverages fall under the exemption for dairy products.)  Drinks in jars and cartons would no longer require deposits, and foil pouches and drink boxes would also be exempt.  Other product categories that would be excluded from deposit requirements include milk, plant-based milks, liquid drugs, medical food, dietary supplements, baby formula, syrups, concentrates, drink powders, and cooking extracts.

Next week the bottle bill reform movement is expected to gain more momentum, with the House Environmental Protection Committee and the Senate Natural Resources Committee each holding hearings on the issue.  Iowa State University economist Dr. Dermot Hayes, an expert on the state’s deposit law, will offer testimony.  He will be joined by Susan Collins, President of the California-based Container Recycling Institute.  Collins has 30 years of experience in the recycling and waste management field, and has consulted with more than 80 public agencies on their programs.