Aluminum cans
© Steve Allen | Dreamstime.com

Iowa approves changes to bottle deposit program

The updates give some stores the ability to opt-in to the bottle deposit program.

Subscribe

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds has signed a bill that will make changes to the state’s bottle deposit program. Reynolds approved Senate File 2378 into law June 17, which lists provisions for the state’s bottle deposit program, including handling fees, refund value, applicability to certain beverages and acceptance of beverage containers, providing penalties and effective date provisions.

SF2378 changes the program to allow grocery and convenience stores to opt-in to the bottle deposit program as long as the store has a food establishment license and that its location is in a county with a population of more than 30,000 and within 10 miles of an approved redemption center or if the store’s location is in a county with a population of 30,000 or fewer and within 15 miles of an approved redemption center. In those instances, consumers will need to return their containers.

According to a report from The Daily Nonpareil newspaper, Council Bluffs, Iowa, these changes aim to boost the number of redemption centers in the state by tripling the fee paid by beverage distributors to the redemption centers. The update states that reimbursement will be 1 cent per container for containers accepted from a dealer agent and 3 cents per container for containers accepted from a participating dealer or redemption center.

Additionally, a legislative fiscal committee will hold a meeting in the legislative interim preceding the 2026 regular legislative session to review the enforcement of SF2378.

Mick Barry, owner of Des Moines, Iowa-based Mid America Recycling, says these latest changes to the state’s bottle deposit program are “decent.” He says the bill’s higher handling fee will help grocers and existing redemption centers build up their recycling infrastructure. He adds that the meeting to review the enforcement will be beneficial for the program.

Barry says the downside of the update is that he thinks many grocers that are near a redemption center and that have a food establishment license will opt out of the program, making it less convenient for consumers trying to return containers.

“The ultimate bad part of this is it’s inconvenient to the consumer,” he says. “The public has been inconvenienced dramatically. That has been the unintended consequence.”