Bottles and Cans: Iowa Container Deposit System
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Bottles and Cans: Iowa Container Deposit System

Iowa’s container deposit law has played a key role in reducing litter and fostering recycling for the past 30 years.  The container deposit law has benefited Iowa’s economy, greatly reduced litter, and has cultivated a commitment to recycling among Iowans that has made many other programs successful.

Iowa’s container deposit take back program is one element of Iowa’s comprehensive recycling system which includes drop-off, curbside and deposit programs.  The container deposit system is a great example of product stewardship and recycling, as are deposit systems currently in place for used tires and batteries.  All three systems encourage product and consumer responsibility working together to make Iowa a national leader in recycling rates and recovery.  

• 1.9 billion containers are sold each year in Iowa
• 86% of beverage containers (1,65 billion) are redeemed annually in Iowa
• Iowa residents recycle an average of 563 containers per person each year; non-deposit state residents average 191.
• The current deposit law prevents litter and recycles 82,352 tons of material per year.
• Updating Iowa’s container deposit law to include water, iced tea, juice and sport drink containers would modernize and strengthen the system:  335 million more containers could be collected each year.  These beverages barely existed when the bottle bill was passed but now account for more than 21% of the beverage market. 
• Covering non-carbonated containers would be good for recycling industries.  The containers consist of high quality materials that are more likely to be recycled into new bottles and cans.
•  The quality (thus, value) of materials collected through a deposit system is high as the breaking of glass and contamination, particularly associated with commingled systems, is minimized.

The Impact of Changes in the Iowa Bottle Bill on Single Stream Recycling (April 2013)
Economics of the Iowa Bottle Bill (January 2012)
Iowa Bottle Bill Poll Findings (Fall 2011)
From the Container Recycling Institute,
Iowa Briefing Note (Beverage container recycling, economics, and climate change for Iowa - February 2011)

Other Resources:

Container Recycling Institute, “Bottle Bills Complement Curbside Recycling Programs”
Iowa Department of Natural Resources web page, “The Deposit Law”
Iowa's Beverage Container Control Act was enacted by the 1978 General Assembly with the objective to control litter along roadways in iowa.
Business and Environmentalists Allied for Recycling (BEAR), Study:  "Understanding Beverage Container Recovery" (Full Report)  For Executive Summary see below.

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