DES MOINES, Iowa — Grocery and beverage manufacturing groups want to rewrite Iowa’s beverage container law and opt for a statewide recycling program instead.
The Iowa Grocery Industry Association and the Iowa Beverage Association introduced a proposal Tuesday that would repeal the 5-cent bottle deposit law in exchange for an approach incentivizing curbside recycling. The associations plan to push the proposal during the Legislature’s 2018 session, the Des Moines Register reported .
Under the proposal, the beverage industry would finance a fund to expand recycling and encourage landfills to recycle more. Grocery stores would no longer need to redeem bottles and cans, which many retailers say is a headache to administer.
“Iowans recognize that while the can and bottle redemption law has worked well in the past, we need a different approach to take us to higher levels of recycling and more effective litter prevention,” said John Otterback, president of the Iowa Beverage Association.
Figures from the state’s Department of Natural Resources show that Iowa recovers 86 percent of its beverage containers.
Opponents worry that scrapping the current law would create roadside litter issues and lower the state’s high recycling rate. They said the number of beverage containers recycled would decline to the national average of 29 percent.
A Republican-sponsored measure to repeal the deposit program and replace it with a broader recycling program is assigned to the Iowa House Ways and Means Committee for consideration in the upcoming session. The bill was narrowly approved by the Iowa House Environmental Protection Committee last session.
Some lawmakers who voted for the bill last session have since voiced doubts about it.
Information from: The Des Moines Register, http://www.desmoinesregister.com