I think it’s time to revamp Iowa’s beverage container deposit/redemption law. I know it has been very successful in reducing the amount of litter. I don’t think it’s a good idea to repeal the law without introducing comprehensive measures to continue encouraging recycling of containers. But there are issues on the other side of the argument, such as having unsanitary used containers in stores or Iowans (temporarily) having nowhere to take their used containers.

Perhaps we could follow Delaware’s lead. Delaware phased out its container deposit law and replaced it with a universal recycling law, which implemented a comprehensive recycling program throughout the state. They initially instituted a non-refundable tax on containers to help offset costs.


When I worked in an office, I did not hang on to the containers to redeem them and just put them in recycling. When traveling I usually go across the river and buy beverages in Wisconsin or Illinois so I don’t have the deposit to contend with or just eat the nickel deposit — which is free money for the retailers then. I imagine many near our borders cross over to neighboring states to buy beverages, so they don’t have to pay the deposit. (None of our neighbors have laws like Iowa’s).

I’d like to see Iowa do something similar to Delaware and revamp the beverage container laws. It was past time to have the discussion before the pandemic, and it will be again after the pandemic is over.