Legislation that would have repealed Iowa’s “Bottle Bill” narrowly cleared a House Committee Wednesday, but a key supporter says it will go no further this year. Representative Ross Paustian, a Republican from Walcott, said it’ll take a few years to adjust other parts of the bill that would have raised money to expand recycling efforts.

“It’s going to be a very slow process,” Paustian said Wednesday. “We don’t want to rush through this. Just getting it out of committee was a big deal for us.”

The bill cleared the House Environmental Protection Committee by just one vote yesterday.

Under Iowa’s 39-year-old “Bottle Bill,” consumers pay a nickel deposit on each container of beer and pop they buy. They may then get the deposit back if they return the empties rather than throw the cans and bottles in the trash. Supporters say Iowa is now one of the top states for recycling beverage containers. Critics say the empty containers are filthy and grocery stores should not be required to accept those empty cans and bottles.

Michelle Hurd, president of the Iowa Grocery Industry Association, called the bill a “work in progress.”

“I think what we wanted to do with this bill was get a good starting place for a discussion going forward,” she said during an interview this week.

Previous efforts over the past couple of decades to repeal the “Bottle Bill” or even expand it to cover water bottles have stalled as legislators struggled to find an acceptable alternative.