Landfill operators have joined the chorus clamoring for an expansion of Iowa’s bottle deposit law in hopes of keeping more recyclable plastic out of their landfills. A bill pending in the Iowa House would place the nickel deposit on bottles that contain water, juice and sports drinks and consumers would be able to return empties to the store to redeem their deposit fees.
Sarah Bixby, a spokeswoman for 150 Iowa landfills, says the change would keep — in a single year — about two-thousand tons of plastic out of one of those landfill. "Doing so reduces our demand for petroleum, it reduces our greenhouse gas emissions coming from the landfills, it better protects our water," she says. "I am in the business of protection the environment."
Bixby is director of the South Central Iowa Solid Waste Agency in Tracy, south of Pella. Bixby was invited to speak at a statehouse news conference organized by Governor Culver’s staff. Key lawmakers say the odds of expanding the state’s bottle deposit law are slim, but the governor’s continued his push to make that move. Lieutenant Governor Patty Judge concedes she and the governor may sound like a broken record. "That’s O.K. We believe that it is that important to our environment. It is that important to our future," Judge says. "And we know that Iowans across the state agree with us."
Judge says when she was in the state senate, she learned not to give up on anything. "I will tell you that I learned a lesson when I was up there that nothing is really ever dead until it’s time to go home," Judge says. "This one should not be, in all seriousness."