Iowa DNR Director Rejects Grocers’ Bottle Bill Request

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has rejected a request that would have let some Iowa grocery stores quit accepting empty bottles and cans and repaying the deposit fee.

The Cedar Rapids Gazette reports that the Iowa Grocery Industry Association asked the DNR to write a new rule for administering the state’s “bottle bill.” It’s the 41-year-old anti-littering law that’s set up to let consumers go to grocery stores to redeem their nickel deposits on empty cans and bottles. Grocers had asked the DNR director to let stores within a 15 mile drive of a redemption center to be excused from the requirement to accept empties and pay back deposits. DNR director Kayla Lyons says it’s prudent for the agency to wait on legislators to make a decision, since lawmakers have been discussing significant changes to the Bottle Bill. Grocers have long complained about being required to accept empty bottles and cans in stores, arguing it’s unsanitary. Legislators for decades have discussed changes to the Bottle Bill, but have never come up with an acceptable alternative.