Andy Arthur/flicker

Officials with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources report a problem with enforcement of Iowa's 35-year old bottle bill. 

Some retailers are turning consumers away when they bring their bottles and cans back for a refund. 

Retailers sometimes contract with redemption centers to take back the containers. But officials say centers are cutting back their hours to make ends meet. They say their one-cent handling fee hasn't been raised since the bottle bill passed.

That throws the responsibility back to retailers. 


Reduce, reuse, recycle. That’s been the mantra among the environmentally conscious for the last 25 years. This hour – an in-depth exploration of recycling in Iowa.

Clare Roth

Recycling can be a tricky process - whether you leave materials curbside or deposit them at a drop-site, it's often hard to know exactly what can or can't be recycled.

On this Talk of Iowa "short," Joe Hummel of City Carton and Theresa Kurtz of the Iowa Recycling Association share how recycling really works, answer common questions, and alleviate recycling myths.

DO -

Clean out your glass and plastic bottles as much as you can.

Katherine Perkins / Iowa Public Radio

Most people have probably taken a bag of aluminum cans to a redemption center to collect the nickel deposit.  You walk in, get them counted and collect your money.  But, what happens next?  IPR’s Katherine Perkins recently visited The Can Shed in Cedar Rapids to take a tour with owner and operator Troy Willard.  Willard says they process 1.5-million containers per week at the facility… and cans are their bread and butter.  Turns out, a lot happens after you dump that bag of cans onto the counter.

David Gallagher /

A dilapidated outbuilding or a house in need of serious updating may look like an eyesore, but it is also an opportunity to recycle and reuse old materials.  Join host Charity Nebbe, Home Improvement Expert Bill McAnnally, and Siobhan Spain of the Center on Sustainable Communities for a talk about deconstruction.  

Dean Borg

Sioux City’s garbage contractor is asking the City Council to discontinue collecting glass for recycling.

The City Council will vote next week on the request to exclude glass from the city’s curbside pickup of recyclable materials.

Glass is easy to recycle, but expensive to haul to a recycling center - and inexpensive to make new.