Iowa lawmakers propose 2-cent handling fee for redemption centers


    An employee at Can Dough Redemption Center in Ottumwa sorts empty cans December 2017/KTVO

    Iowa lawmakers are once again considering changes to the state's bottle bill.

    Legislation introduced at the statehouse this session would double the 1-cent handling fee for redemption centers, and place a 5-cent deposit on non-carbonated beverage containers.

    Iowa's five-cent deposit law, passed in the late 1970s, encourages recycling, and reduces litter. It allows state-certified redemption centers to enter a written agreement with retailers, so that those retailers can avoid the hassle of redeeming their empty cans.

    Bill Blum, program planner with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, tells KTVO there about 100 approved redemption centers in Iowa. At one time, he said there were well over 300 centers.

    Blum added that the number of redemption centers in Iowa is decreasing because the 1-cent handling fee isn't increasing.

    “That was set in 1979 and has not been changed since, and so overtime, as the redemption centers' costs increase, they can't legally increase per unit income, and that’s why we're down to about a hundred now,” Blum said.

    Each year, Iowans redeem roughly 71 percent of empty beverage containers. With the proposed changes, some lawmakers say that rate could become much higher.

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