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One of the topics that has come up again this year is the bottle bill. Iowa’s bottle bill program has been around since 1979 when it was implemented as a way to control the amount of litter throw in into roadside ditches. As a method to reduce litter, help clean up the environment, and fundraise for the community, the bottle bill is very popular. In the 1990s, recycling really took off in Iowa, with drop-off sites eventually progressing into the single-stream curbside recycling most communities have today. However, the bottle bill remains relevant, and for many years now, legislators at the Capitol have been working on ways to update the law in light of changes in recycling and consumer behavior over the last 40 years.

Since the start of the pandemic, many are also more cautious about germs and want to ensure a safe and sanitary method for redemption. People bringing unsanitary bottles and cans to grocery stores where we buy our food runs contrary to efforts to improve public health.

Over the years there have been many ideas about modernizing the bottle bill, or even whether to repeal it altogether because of the increase in recycling. This year is no different. There are many stakeholders in this program and any proposed legislation dealing with the bottle bill. The pandemic and problems with redemption has given some renewed motivation for the issue, and the discussion on which of several proposals is best for the state continues.

Author: Mike Klimesh