- A survey from The Iowa Grocery Industry Association (IGIA) and the Iowa Beverage Association (IBA) says 61% of Iowans support updating the state's bottle deposit bill, and that most Iowans oppose expanding a 5-cent deposit to more types of containers (54%) or increasing the existing deposit to 10 cents (63%).
- The survey showed that 87% of Iowans think making curbside recycling, on-site recycling and community recycling available to everyone is the best way to encourage participation.
- The IGIA and IBA are proposing legislation that would eliminate Iowa's 5 cent deposit and bottle returns, as reported by Iowa Public Radio (IPR). The industry groups' survey showed 55% of Iowans said they would support a bill that takes away the deposit and creates a fund, paid for by the beverage industry, that helps expand recycling.
A bill from early 2017 that would repeal the bottle deposit still sits in the Iowa legislature where it is eligible for debate, according to IPR. In March, the bill moved out of committee by a one-vote margin. It may be hard for the beverage industry to overcome the resiliency of the bottle deposit program.
Even though the bill is approaching 40 years old, it's widely-known in the state and, according to a 2012 report, helps create an 86% recycling rate for beverage containers. And, while the industry can say this survey supports their efforts to repeal the deposit and replace it with a recycling fund, an earlier survey from March showed 88% of Iowans think the current law is beneficial.
Iowa isn't alone in grappling with bottle deposits, though not many states have mandates. A recent report from Massachusetts showed that the state's deposit supports more than 2,000 jobs and would cost an estimated $20 million annually if repealed. California is facing a redemption center "crisis," though a recently-signed bill could provide some relief to densely-populated areas. The potential repeal of the bottle deposit in Iowa will be one to watch as consumer opinion and industry advocacy come to a head.