The current bottle deposit and redemption system in Iowa has developed problems since its inception. One primary issue is the lack of redemption centers and viable and convenient options for redeeming cans and bottles. Parties on all sides of the issue are ignoring the law without any consequences. Significant work was done last year that makes changes to the system. That work continued this year and both the House and Senate are considering reform options to make the bottle bill system one that works for consumers.
House File 2571 takes many positive steps towards improving the current system. It increases the handling fee for redemption centers to two cents per can. This also gives retailers the ability to opt out of taking empty containers back if they meet one of the following four criteria:
1) Retailer only sells single containers located at or near the point of sale,
2) Has a food establishment license and has a certified food protection manager on site,
3) Retailer has an agreement with a mobile redemption system, or
4) The retailer is within the radius of a redemption center based on the convenience standard for their county.
It also enhances enforcement by strengthening fines and enabling the DNR and attorney general to work together to ensure all parties are following the law. Finally, HF 2571 establishes a legislative review committee that will meet ahead of the 2026 legislative session to review how the law is working and report to the legislature its findings and recommendations. HF 2571 requires all stakeholders to follow the law and encourages additional redemption locations, which is good for all Iowans.