Poll finds strong support for ending Iowa bottle bill


Poll finds strong support for ending Iowa bottle bill

Grocery Association commissioned poll suggests 'reforming' and 'modernizing' 39-year-old law

Tori Clair (right) of Shellsburg and Cynthia Vaughn of Cedar Rapids sort aluminum cans as they move along a conveyor at the Can Shed, 4121 16th Ave SW, in November 2016. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

James Q. Lynch | The Gazette | Dec 5, 2017

CEDAR RAPIDS — A poll commissioned by the Iowa Grocery Industry Association, in partnership with the Iowa Beverage Association, has found that Iowans “enormously” support “reforming” and “modernizing” Iowa’s 39-year-old bottle deposit law.

The poll found that 55 percent of Iowans would support the organizations’ efforts to win approval of legislation to:

Take away the five-cent deposit consumers pay on carbonated cans and bottles.

Create an incentive for the expansion of access and use of curbside recycling.

Eliminate the need to return bottles and cans to grocery stores.

Create a fund paid for by the beverage industry to assist with recycling expansion.

Create an incentive for landfills and other recycling operations to expand efforts to include cans and bottles.

That is essentially what House File 575, which was approved by the House Environmental Protection Committee earlier this year, would do. After it won committee approval, Chairman Ross Paustian promised not to take further action until 2018 in order to let interested parties — grocers, convenience stores and the beverage industry as well as redemption center and recyclers — to work on finding a consensus.

The key findings were:

  • 86 percent favor encourage recycling by offering curbside or on-site recycling to all homes and businesses
  • 85 percent favor modernizing the current law to make it easier for homes and businesses to recycle their bottles and cans
  • 74 percent favor a statewide litter control and prevention program.

The poll of 500 registered likely voters, conducted by Tarrance Group, also found heavy opposition to expanding the bottle bill to cover water, juice and sports beverages as well as increasing the nickel deposit to cover recyclers’ rising costs.

Changes to the bottle bill have been introduced nearly every year, but the law remains virtually unchanged from 1979.

Michelle Hurd, Iowa Grocery Industry Association president, said the poll “demonstrates the need for reform … and helps this conversation move forward.”

Source: The Gazette