Governor Chet Culver is calling for a nickel increase in the state’s bottle deposit law. Iowans currently pay a five cent "deposit" on every can of pop or beer they buy and supporters say it ensures most cans are taken back to the store so folks can get their deposit money back.
"It’s one of the most effective environmental protection programs in the nation and I’m confident that we can sit down and work together in a bipartisan way, bring businesses large and small to the table and do the right thing in terms of protecting our environment," Culver says.
The current nickel deposit is charged on some but not all of the beverage containers sold in the state and Culver says more bottles and cans should be subject to the dime deposit he proposes — such as bottles of water, tea, juice and sports drinks which are not part of the deposit charge today. Grocers have complained about being required to accept the empties Iowans return for their deposit money. Culver says one-cent of the nickel increase he proposes would go to those who handle the empties, like grocers and redemption centers. Another penny would be spent on environmental programs, eight cents would go to the consumer if the governor gets his way.
"This shouldn’t be a controversial issue. In fact, former Governor Branstad floor managed the bill that ultimately became law 30 years ago," Culver says, suggesting lawmakers have an "historic opportunity" to improve the law.
Previous attempts to change the bottle deposit law have fallen short. Some argue there should be no deposit fees on cans and bottles to increase the volume of cans and glass being placed at the curb, making it more economically feasible for cities to collect materials for recycling.