The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is taking applications for grants that should help make independent bottle and can redemption centers easier for the public to use. D-N-R spokesman Bill Blum says the deadline for the grants is October 3rd.

Blum says the grants are for improvements to the facilities or for other equipment that makes them more sustainable, more accessible or more convenient. Blum says independent facilities are those that are not connected to a major beverage distributor.

Blum says they believe there are between 100 to 140 redemption centers as some have gone out of business and they are trying to find out how many have closed. Blum says they have up to one million dollars they can give out in grants.

Blum says from the state’s perspective, the entire container deposit law is an environmental program with financial incentives to keep the containers out of the landfills and ditches. He says the redemption centers are a key part of that and the grants are an attempt to "help some of these struggling small businesses hold on." The centers can get up to $15,000 based on their application.

Blum says they will have a third-party evaluation team that will determine which applicants get money and how much. He says they would like to have the grants out by the end of October or sooner. Attempts to expand the bottle deposit law have failed in recent years, but the legislature did allocate this money for the improvement grants in the last session. For more information on the grants, go to the D-N-R’s website and look for the link to the Redemption Center Grants Program.