A bill that would allow redemption centers to negotiate a high fee for can and bottle collection is still alive in the Iowa Legislature. Grocery stores and distributors now pay the redemption centers one cent per can or bottle they return.
Troy Willard, the co-owner of the Can Shed redemption center in Cedar Rapids and says the penny payback isn’t enough. He says it gets tougher and tougher every year to make a profit with the increasing cost of rent, utilities and the minimum wage. The bill moving through he Iowa House gives the redemption centers permission to negotiate for a bigger share of the five cent deposit paid by consumers.
Willard says the redemption centers deserve more of the deposit. Willard says they have thousands of customers every week who bring in bulk cans so they don’t have to wit in line at the store. He says they also have hundreds of retail customers that help minimize the cost to distributors and stores in picking up the cans. Williard holds out hope the bill will eventually become law.
Willard says it’s a "David versus Goliath" situation. The current one-cent fee paid to redemption centers was started 30 years ago when the bottle bill was passed by the Legislature. Past efforts to change the system have failed.