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No more nickels?

By Staff | Mar 1, 2017

Despite support for the bottle bill of 84 percent of Iowans, Iowa House Republicans are considering the repeal of Iowa’s bottle bill. Across the state, grocers have complained the filth come into their stores along with the empties they must accept from customers who want their nickel deposits back.

In Estherville, cans are accepted at Egeland’s Redemption Center, 1204 Second Ave. S.

Tuesday morning, the House Environmental Protection Committee considered eliminating the bottle bill and having Iowans recycle empty pop and beer containers at the curb, taking the nickel redemption away from the consumer.

Supporters of getting rid of the “Bottle Bill” say the empties in the grocery stores are a health hazard, plus curbside programs could profit from having more aluminum, plastic and glass containers to sell.

According to data from Mid-America Recycling, Iowa is now one of the top states for recycling.

Nationally, 34 percent of glass is recycled, 39 percent of aluminum beverage containers, and 16 percent of plastic beverage containers. Since the bottle bill, which was supported at the time by then-legislator Terry Branstad among others, nearly nine of every ten aluminum soda and beer cans are recycled in Iowa, along with the vast majority of glass and plastic drink containers.

According to the Iowa House, the bill under consideration would no longer have consumers pay and then redeem a nickel deposit fee on containers with carbonated or alcoholic beverages. Instead, a new tax would be imposed on beer and pop containers. That one-cent-per-container tax would go into a new state-run fund to finance recycling programs. In addition, the state would impose a tax of one or two cents on all beverages sold in the state, to raise money for the Keep Iowa Beautiful fund.