Former Governor, Recyclers Urge Iowans to Support Their Bottle, Can Deposit Law

April 19, 2005

With time running out on legislation to protect the state’s bottle and can deposit law, former Governor Terry Branstad and members of the Iowa Recycling Association today urged Iowans to express their support for the popular, long-time law.


And, the state’s recyclers turned to The Concept Works for assistance to get deliver that important message to the public. The West Des Moines public and government relations firm organized a Statehouse news conference that featured Branstad, IRA Executive Director Dewayne Johnson and Mid America Recycling Vice President Mick Barry. The Concept Works team also developed a series of radio ads in support of the campaign and placed the spots on radio stations across the state.


“The bottle bill is an old friend that has worked hard for us. And, we’re here today to call on Iowans, especially our state leaders, to protect it. Businesses that sell drinks in bottles and cans should be required to redeem them,” Branstad told print, radio and television journalists at the news conference. “An overwhelming majority of Iowans want and expect that the level of support from their retailers, and I hope legislators and Governor Vilsack will respond to that public demand.”


Recycling proponents are focused on amending House File 766, which could serve as a legislative vehicle to address the “return to retail” need.


“If a store sells a can or bottle and collects the nickel, Iowans want the store to accept cans and bottles back and return the nickel, the whole nickel,” said Dewayne Johnson, executive director of the Iowa Recycling Association. “Iowa’s bottle and can deposit law has been so successful for so long that it’s difficult to imagine that anything could derail it. I think that’s the reason we’ve not seen the urgency in protecting such a valuable tool. “However, it’s evident that a number of retailers will ask the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to exempt them from the requirement to accept returned bottles and cans shortly after legislators go home.”


When that happens, Iowans in many towns and cities will lose the convenience of “one-stop shopping” where they are able to return bottles and cans at the same time they do their grocery shopping.  A separate trip to a redemption center, perhaps miles away, perhaps not even in the same town, will significantly reduce the number of bottles and cans recycled.


It will also cost consumers more to drive to that second, possible remote, location.  In addition, not all cities have curbside recycling, so Iowans will lose their convenient bottle and can recycling ability.


“Because so many other issues have captured the spotlight, most Iowans don’t know of the real threat to the continued viability of the bottle and can deposit bill,” Barry said. “Our efforts will be directed to letting them know what’s happening here. Our message is simple: Call, write or e-mail your legislators immediately and urge them to amend House File 766 to require ‘return to retail.’”