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Bottle Bill: What you should know

Published: Wednesday, June 4, 2014 10:34 a.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, June 11, 2014 10:03 a.m. CDT

Since the South Central Iowa Recycling Center, the Osceola can and bottle redemption center, closed May 10, this would be an opportune time to remind the public about some important facets of Iowa’s Beverage Containers Control Law, also known as the “Bottle Bill.”

The “Bottle Bill” helps reduce and clean up litter by recovering beverage containers for recycling.

Iowa’s “Bottle Bill” deposit law covers all carbonated and alcoholic beverages. Consumers pay a five-cent deposit when purchasing a beverage container and receive a five-cent refund when returning the container to a store or redemption center.

This is an important reminder: Anywhere that sells beverages with a deposit is supposed to take them back. A dealer may not refuse to give the consumer back the deposit if the dealer sells that product. 

However, if a customer were to bring back Fareway, Hiland, or Walmart Supercenter cans to Hy-Vee, Hy-Vee would not have to accept them because the customer didn’t purchase them from there.

The bill states, “A dealer shall not refuse to accept from a consumer any empty beverage container of the kind, size and brand sold by the dealer, or refuse to pay the consumer the refund value of a beverage container.”

The bill also states, “A manufacturer or distributor may refuse to accept and to pay the refund value and reimbursement ... on any empty beverage container that was picked up by a dealer agent from a dealer outside the geographic territory served by the manufacturer or distributor.”

According to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, it takes more energy to make a bottle from new materials than to make a bottle from recycled materials.

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