Josie Taylor | June 28, 2022
There may be a significant reduction in the number of places that redeem cans and bottles in Iowa after changes to the state’s bottle bill go into effect in July.
The Sierra Club of Iowa estimates that about 1,700 businesses that sell the beverages are required to take back those containers right now, but changes to the law that were signed by Gov. Kim Reynolds last week and will go into effect July 1 will exempt most of those businesses that prepare ready-to-eat food. That includes a large number of grocery stores and those within a certain distance of a redemption center.
According to an Iowa Department of Natural Resources list, there are 121 active redemption centers in the state, but the Sierra Club and the owner of the state’s largest redemption business estimate the true number is closer to 60 because many of the centers listed by the DNR have closed.
Can and bottle redemptions were halted for months at the beginning of the pandemic, and when they resumed there were huge backlogs of containers and long lines of people attempting to redeem them.
Many believe that the reduced number of places to redeem cans and bottles will likely propel new technologies to make the redemptions more convenient for residents. That might include drop sites where people leave bags of containers that are tagged in some way to connect them to the people, and the redemption centers later count the containers and compensate the customers.