Sustainable Materials Management
IRA supports DNR’s ongoing work to transition Iowa’s 30-year-old integrated solid waste management model – which focuses on the tonnage dumped into landfills – to Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) system. The SMM philosophy calls for the use of new technologies to promote better management of materials through their entire life cycle, minimizing negative impacts on the environment and human health. IRA supports the following potential strategies to SMM identified by the Iowa SMM Strategic Vision For Iowa Report which can be found here.
- Remove single-use plastic from the waste stream;
- Increase the composting of organic waste;
- Support packaging that can be more easily recycled;
- Increase the reduction, reuse, and recycling of materials;
- Work with businesses and industry to find innovative methods to utilize waste materials for beneficial reuse; and
- Educate Iowa citizens about the importance of sustainable materials management.
Iowa Bottle Bill
For more than 40 years, Iowa’s Bottle Bill has consistently reduced litter statewide, with consumers recycling 71% of deposit cans and bottles. Although that far surpasses the 29% recycling rate for non-bottle bill states, Iowa’s system is eroding. IRA opposes any effort to repeal or seriously harm Iowa’s bottle bill and would support efforts to preserve and modernize the bottle bill by:
- Increasing the handling fee. Iowa’s 1¢ handling fee is the lowest of all container states, remaining unchanged since 1979. Over the past 40+ years business costs have increased dramatically, forcing two-thirds of Iowa’s redemption centers to close. Increasing the handling fee will make opening new facilities viable, which will create jobs, relieve redemption pressure on grocery stores, and make recycling more convenient statewide.
- Expanding the deposit to water & non-carbonated drink containers. Bottle water and sports drinks were not available when the bottle bill was enacted in 1979. They now make up over half of Iowans’ beverage purchases and are landfilled at twice the rate of redeemable containers. Expanding the deposit will encourage Iowans to return these containers and reduce landfill waste.