Bottle Bill Expansion Controversy - ABC5 News Des Moines, IA

Bottle Bill Expansion Controversy

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Addie Olson

aolson@myabc5.com

@addieolson

A proposed expansion to Iowa's Bottle Bill would add deposits to things like bottles of water, juice and sports drinks. On the surface it doesn't seem like a bill that would cause a lot of controversy, but that wasn't the case in a subcommittee meeting Thursday morning.

Legislators behind the expansion say it could keep more litter off the ground, create jobs for more Iowans and lead to overall greater sustainability.

Grocery stores weren't as happy with the bill. Hy-Vee believes it would have a negative impact on Iowans.

"If you're suddenly paying deposits on thousands more items, consumers are going to notice an increased cost at the supermarket," said Hy-Vee spokesperson Ruth Comers. "For Hy–Vee, taking back those cans and bottles — it's going to strain a system that already handles tens of thousands containers a week. So really, physically, we're not sure where we're going to put all of those extra containers."

For the 45 special needs employees of Can Do Redemption Center in Manchester, Iowa, more bottles coming in is only a good thing.

 "It's very important for us to expand the Bottle Bill, to get more products through our doors so we can pay better wages and hire more people," said Can Do Manager Angi Lawson.

The number of employees at Can Do would probably grow if the legislation passes. Lawson said that means the growth of each worker as an individual.

"They do every job," she said of Can Do's employees. "It's self–worth, it's self–esteem, and it's motivation for them to move onto another community job."

Legislators signed the bill through subcommittee today, leaving it open for further discussion.

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