A key legislator supports the more than 50 Iowa grocery stores that have quit accepting cans and bottles from customers seeking the deposit money. For the past few years, Iowa’s grocery store owners have been asking lawmakers to end part of the so-called “bottle bill” which requires stores to take back empty cans and bottles on which the five-cent deposit is charged. Grocery store managers say the cans and bottles are often filthy and bring in unwanted germs. House Speaker Christopher Rants, a republican from Sioux City, agrees. “I have a bias in this. I used to empty those cans and bottles when I was in high school and college. I worked in a grocery store for a long time,” Rants says. Rants has no problem with grocery stores dumping their in-store deposit centers — if they follow the law and ensure there’s a business nearby that will redeem the bottles and cans. Rants says grocery store owners and managers have gotten to the point where they “can’t take it anymore” because of the mess associated with emptied or nearly-emptied bottles and cans inside their stores. Rants favors getting rid of the five-cent deposit law and requiring Iowans to put their cans and bottles in curbside recycling. “The fact of the matter is we have a lot of communities that aren’t meeting their recycling goal, and they aren’t going to as long as we continue to take the most valuable commodities out of the waste stream, and that’s aluminum and glass,” Rants says. But Rants believes it’s too early to say change is coming.”I frankly have no designs to do anything,” Rants says. Rants is the top-ranking republican in the Iowa House.
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