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Hitting the bottle

Legislators pass bottle bill repeal out of committee, but its unlikely to get to the floor in 2017; Emmet County weighs in, state poll results show more support for keeping bottle bill as is

March 28, 2017
Amy H. Peterson - Staff Writer (apeterson@esthervillenews.net) , Estherville News

March 4, Emmet County's Iowa legislators, Rep. Tedd Gassman and Sen. Dennis Guth, along with 4th District U.S. Rep. Steve King, held a town meeting at the Estherville Farm, Home & Living Show. Among those attending was Al Egeland, who runs the Egeland Redemption Center on Second Ave. S. in Estherville.

Egeland told the crowd gathered that at one penny per can coming into the redemption center, it takes about 90 bags of cans to pay one employee per shift.

Meanwhile, people come from 14 counties to Egeland Redemption because so many of the other centers have closed in recent months and years.

Article Photos

The results of the Estherville News reader poll. By a slight majority, readers preferred to repeal the bottle bill. A few were unsure.

On Feb. 27, supporters of Iowa's bottle bill packed the Capitol for the subcommittee meeting on House Study Bill 163. Environmentalists, conservationists, redemption center owners, recycling professionals, beer distributors, and citizens at large from across the state gathered to voice their opposition to House Study Bill 163.

Ultimately the House Study Bill 163 passed out of subcommittee with the three Republicans signing the bill to advance to the full House Environmental Protection Committee.

"The bottle bill is popular, and most Iowa voters do not want to see it repealed. If anything, they are open to the idea of including more types of beverage containers under the law requiring a deposit for water and sports drink bottles and cans which would then be eligible for redemption," explained J. Ann Selzer, President and Owner of Selzer & Company.

Fact Box

Statistics from the bottle bill poll (statewide)

. Nearly nine in ten (88%) active Iowa voters say the bottle bill has been good for the state.

n Nearly four in five support keeping the law in some form; if anything, voters are open to expansion.

n Every demographic group identified favors keeping or expanding the law by strong majorities, including:

o Every age group: Under age 35 (70%) to those ages 55 and over (83%).

o Every party alliance: Republicans (74%), Democrats (81%), and independents (78%).

o Every congressional district: From the 4th CD (72%) to the 2nd CD (82%).

o Every community type: It's very nearly as popular in the rural areas (77%) as in the metro areas (79%).

o Because of the bottle bill, there is less litter in public places in Iowa (85% agree, including 53% who agree strongly).

o If the bottle bill were ended, people would not bother with recycling and a lot more bottles and cans would end up in landfills (81% agree, including 53% who agree strongly).

o The bottle bill helps charities such as Cub Scouts, Brownies, and other groups who collect cans and bottles from others to raise money for their organizations (88% agree, including 51% who agree strongly).

Nearly forty years ago, the Legislature passed and Governor Robert D. Ray signed Iowa's bottle bill. The law has since made Iowa a nationally renowned leader in recycling. It has saved tens of millions of containers from entering our landfills, waterways, and ditches and helped created hundreds of good Iowa jobs.

Governor Ray and then-Representative Terry Branstad shared a vision 39 years ago to make Iowa's Bottle Bill the cornerstone of Iowa's highly successful, integrated, and multi-faceted recycling processes. Countless civic and community organizations, schools, charities, and churches have used the bottle bill to raise money to make a difference in the lives of those around us."

The recent poll further shows that nearly four in five support keeping the law in some form; if anything, voters are open to expansion. Representative Andy McKean (R-Anamosa) concurs, "I was first elected to represent Jones County in the Iowa House in 1979 when the bottle bill first took effect. I witnessed the immediate positive impact of the bill and would like to see it expanded and enhanced as part of a comprehensive statewide recycling program."

Recent bottle bill repeal legislation, House Study Bill 163, was passed in the House Environmental Protection Committee. According to Mick Barry, the President of Mid America Recycling (Iowa's largest recycling facility), repealing the bottle bill is not the answer moving forward. "Collectively, the bottle bill and single stream recycling work hand in hand to make Iowa one of the top five recycling states in the country. Repealing the bottle bill would require facilities like Mid America Recycling to bear the responsibility to recycle glass. This would force the recycling facilities to charge Iowa cities for the additional costs; additional costs that would ultimately fall to the taxpayers."

Senator Mark Segebart (R-Vail) agrees with Barry. "The Iowa bottle bill has been one of the most effective government programs in Iowa that has been successful for almost four decades," said Senator Mark Segebart (R-Vail). "Repealing the bottle bill is not the answer."

 
 
 

 

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