More arguments today from recycling and health officials against a call by Iowa’s grocers to radically change Iowa’s bottle bill. Grocers say they don’t like handling the dirty old cans returned for deposit, and want them included in curbside recycling bins instead. But Dewayne Johnson with the Iowa Recycling Association says the current process keeps the countryside clean.He says bottle bills are 70-90 percent effective, whereas the best curbside programs get 70 percent. Johnson says the grocers aren’t forced to take in returned cans and bottles now.The law lets them opt out of it, but if one store offers the service the next one has to, because customers will go where it’s convenient. Sarah Rasmussen with Des Moines’ Metro Waste Authority says expanding recycling would carry a cost of its own.Rasmussen said just giving homeowners in Des Moines enough plastic bins to recycle cans and bottles would cost half a million dollars. Mark Linda handles health program inspections for 9 northeast Iowa counties, and says they find health-code violations in the handling of meat, keeping dairy products cold enough, labeling foods and taking expired items off the shelf. He says while the Grocers Association lobbies for ending can-returns for health reasons, it’s fought FDA health inspections of the stores.
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