State Rep. Steven Holt (R-Crawford) wanted to highlight some issues that get less attention than they deserve. One of those is the bottle bill.
In Holt’s district, it is an issue that needs to be addressed.
“It’s not so much of a priority for maybe urban legislators, and it’s going to be an uphill battle because of resistance from grocery stores and beer wholesalers, but it’s something that needs to be addressed,” he said. “A lot of people who live out here in rural Iowa don’t have curbside pickup and often times don’t have garbage. They have to drive to a landfill.
“This program worked for many, many years. All we need to do to make it work again is increase the deposit a couple of pennies.”
Holt talked at length about a new system called Droppett, saying it greatly increases the ability of recyclers to make money and makes it profitable.
Droppett is a system at a building or a trailer where everything is computerized. People can go online to apply for an account — a Boy Scout group or a church group, for example. They received a number and then get bags. They can put cans into the bags and put a little readable strip on the bag. It goes into the Droppett trailer.
Droppett also takes other things that are not recyclable under Iowa law. With cameras inside the trailer, Droppett is notified when things to be emptied out and taken to a recycler.
Many people say raising the deposit one penny is only putting a band-aid on the problem. So, Holt is considering the possibility of needing to increase the deposit two or three pennies.
If Droppett is included or allowed into the legislation, then Holt has more optimism that the process would become profitable.
“I certainly don’t want to do a penny and five years from now have the same issue,” Holt said.
Grocery stores do not want the cans returned because of the health and sanitation issues that come with the returns. With the sugar and everything else in the cans, it attracts rats and bugs.
“I certainly can understand why they don’t want them in their store,” Holt said.
That’s another reason to encourage the Droppett system, Holt said.
For those who suggest the deposit is a tax, Holt said he doesn’t see it that way.
“You pay that deposit, you recycle your stuff, you get it back,” he said. “It’s not anything the government is keeping. It’s one of those few government programs where the government doesn’t make any money on it, but it actually works fantastically, or it has in the past. Hopefully, we can make some progress.”