Poll finds support for ending Iowa's bottle deposit law

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG TV9)- A push to roll back Iowa’s nearly 40-year old bottle deposit law could pick up speed in the coming legislative session.

A customer returns bottles and cans to the Can Shed redemption center in Cedar Rapids for a refund.

The Iowa Grocery Industry and Iowa Beverage Association may have fired the first shot with a poll released Tuesday.

That survey found 55 percent responding favored a law to end the nickel beverage deposit and substituting a curbside recycling mandate for cans and bottles.

Sixty three percent also opposed increasing the current deposit from five to ten cents per container.

Supporters of the bottle bill requirement say that poll did not tell people how much expanded curbside would cost with such services not available in many parts of rural Iowa and smaller communities.

Grocers around the state have argued against the bottle bill for years.

They’ve complained about the nuisance and mess of storing the bottles and cans for processing and the un-reimbursed expenses connected with collecting it all.

Denny Dietrich, owner of Gary’s Foods in Mt. Vernon, isn’t sure supporters of such a change will win the argument this session. But he expects a lengthier discussion this time.

“This is the year we start to dialogue about where Iowa’s going to go and what’s the future for this,” he said.

Processors like the Can Shed redemption center in Cedar Rapids have argued for changes as well. But bottle bill supporters want an increase in the deposit from five cents to ten cents per container.

They also called for adding the deposit to water bottles and other containers not covered now.

Co-owner Troy Willard agreed the battle could be more intense with the political changes of a year ago.

“We didn’t figure they (opposition) were just going to give up but also we need to have the discussion to what is really in the bests interests in all of Iowa,” Willard said.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources estimates that 86 percent of all beverage containers are returned now for the deposit. The average recycling figure for states with no deposit law is 29 percent.