# Recycling



Iowa legislature finally agrees on new bottle bill

Iowa lawmakers have amended the state’s recycling law for the first time since its passage in 1978. Senate File 2378 changes what is commonly known as the “bottle bill” in ways that will please beverage distributors, retailers, and redemption centers.

In a mostly party-line vote on May 23, the Iowa Senate concurred with the version of the bill House members approved last month. Governor Kim Reynolds has not publicly commented on the proposal but is expected to sign it into law.

Legislators who voted against the bill warned that it would harm consumers and reduce recycling.

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Droppett not so convenient for can, bottle return

Terese Grant and Linda Schreiber co-authored this commentary. Bills pending in the Iowa House and Senate would allow retailers to stop accepting recyclable containers.

Droppett CEO and President Doug Webb painted a rosy picture of his company’s recycling system in a January guest editorial for the Cedar Rapids Gazette. Droppett is owned by CRINC, which is owned by Doll Distributors (Budweiser) and Iowa Beverage Systems (Miller/Coors).

Recycling declined dramatically during the global COVID-19 pandemic after Governor Kim Reynolds gave retailers the option to suspend redemption.

The two largest retailers took different paths. Fareway discontinued redemption and does not accept containers; it does have agreements with redemption centers. Hy-Vee continued redemption at locations equipped with reverse vending machines and partnered with nearby redemption centers.

If bottle and can redemption is limited to Droppett systems only, recycling may decline further, producing more unclaimed money for distributors (already estimated to be in the tens of millions of dollars).

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Weekend open thread and events coming up during the next ten days

This thread is for anything on your mind this weekend. After the jump I've posted details about lots of upcoming events in early February.

If you want to watch Senator Chuck Grassley do the "Friday Happy Dance" on WHO-TV, head on over to Dave Price's blog.

The Polk County Democrats need more submissions of original recipes for the "Liberally Seasoned" cookbook they are compiling. By February 6, send polkdems AT gmail.com a word document including your full name and precinct, a paragraph about the dish, and a picture of the dish or yourself if possible. Categories: salads, appetizers, main dishes, vegetarian, desserts and drinks. They plan to have the cookbook ready by the Polk County Convention on March 12. For questions, call 515-285-1800.

DAWN's List, which works to elect Democratic pro-choice women in Iowa, is seeking nominations for awards that will be given in five categories. Details are below, and nominations are due by the end of the day on February 1.

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Events coming up this weekend and next week

Please post a comment or send me an e-mail (desmoinesdem AT yahoo.com) if you know of some event I’ve left out.

Friday, January 30:

Congressman Bruce Braley is holding a town hall meeting on the economic stimulus at 10:00 am at the Grand River Center (meeting rooms 2 and 3), 500 Bell Street in Dubuque. Braley’s town hall meetings on the economy are free and open to the public.  Attendees are encouraged to RSVP at http://braley.house.gov.

From Polk County Democrats:

The Ankeny Area Democrats and The Polk County Democrats Present An Inauguration Celebration Dinner At The Iowa State Historical Building

with special guest Congressman Leonard Boswell and State Affirmative Action Chair Shenica Graham will sing a tribute song she wrote for President Obama, “I Believe.”

Special presentation of appreciation for 2008 candidates: Nita Garvin, Dr. Alan Koslow, Matt Pfaltzgraf, John Scarpino, Richard Sosalla, Jerry Sullivan

Friday, January 30, 2009

Catered by Baratta’s Restaurant

Social Hour begins at 6:00 PM

Dinner at 7:00 PM

Live music through the Musician’s Union

Tickets $25 per person

Tickets include chicken / pasta dinner and sides, soft drinks, coffee, iced tea or water

Semi-formal attire encouraged, but not required

Please bring a food item for the Des Moines Area Religious Council to be distributed to the local food pantries.

Tickets available by calling Tamyra at 515-285-1800 or Mary Oliver at 515-964-1227

Email polkdems@gmail.com or Ankenyareadems@msn.com

Saturday, January 31:

From Iowa Rivers Revival:

IRR is developing a River Stewards Program to address concerns about the public’s general disconnect from rivers.  We have conducted a couple of brainstorming sessions in recent months and have envisioned River Rascals, a river steward program that will offer opportunities for youth to learn more about the importance of rivers and problems associated with them.  We want to engage educators and anyone interested to help develop and implement a program for youth that focuses on river appreciation, recreation and stewardship. We invite you to the upcoming planning session to help make the vision a reality!

River Rascal Program Planning Session

Saturday, January 31, 2009, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Polk County Conservation Board’s Jester Park Lodge, 11407 NW Jester Park Drive, Granger, IA

Agenda: Provide ideas and feedback on draft program details, including curriculum, educators/presenters/partners/mentors, potential participants, venue options, and funding options

No cost (pizza and beverages will be brought in – small cash contribution welcome)

RSVP: rlehman@iowarivers.org or 515-202-7720

Tuesday, February 3:

Ed Fallon will discuss civil marriage for gay and lesbian couples on Jan Mickelson’s radio show. Mickelson is a local Rush Limbaugh clone, and I’M for Iowa is encouraging supporters of marriage equality to listen and call in. The show runs from 9:00 – 11:30 a.m. on WHO Radio (1040 AM), and you can participate by calling (515) 284-1040.

One Iowa is organizing a forum on marriage equality at 7:00 pm in the Veteran’s Memorial Building, 834 Broad St. in Grinnell.

Wednesday, February 4:

From Iowa Rivers Revival:

Iowa Rivers Revival invites you to join us for a legislative reception to engage Iowa legislators about the importance of our rivers and how they provide many economic, environmental and recreational resources for our state.  Come and share your river experiences. […]  

Our first reception held in January 2008 was a great success – over 50 supporters, including bi-partisan representation from at least 15 Iowa legislators, attended the last-minute event.  This reception provides an opportunity for Iowa’s political leaders to recognize that rivers have representation and an increasing base of support advocating on their behalf.  The purpose of this reception is to raise awareness and to continue having conversations about the issues concerning Iowa’s rivers and our connections to rivers.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Noodle Zoo Café

E 6th & Locust, Des Moines

4:30 – 6:30 PM

No cost

RSVP: rlehman@iowarivers.org

From the Iowa Environmental Council:

The Iowa Recycling Association is sponsoring an Educators Conference on February 4, from 9:00am to 3:00pm, at Plymouth Church, 4126 Ingersoll Ave., Des Moines. Topics and Speakers include “Green Streets”:  Jeff Geerts, Iowa Department of Economic Development; “Marketing Programs on a Budget”:  Mark Signs, Trees Forever; “Character Counts”:  Eric Martin, Character Counts; “Partnerships for Effective Education”:  Mary Gillespey, Darven Kendell, Bev Wagner. Pre-registration is required. Registration fee is $30 before January 1, 2009 and $40 after January 1. A waste free lunch will be provided. Register online at http://www.iowarecycles.org/co… and send payment to: Iowa Recycling Association,  PO Box 10954, Cedar Rapids, IA  52410. For more information contact: Bev Wagner, beverly.wagner@loras.edu or 563-588-7933.

Friday, February 6:

The Iowa Network for Community Agriculture is holding its 14th Annual Local Food Conference on February 6-7 in Clear Lake. The conference is an opportunity to connect the local food “dots” in North Iowa, expand your local food knowledge with dynamic workshops, and celebrate the capacity to sustain ourselves and our communities. Come meet and eat with other local food enthusiasts. Full conference information at http://www.growinca.org.

There will also be a “slow food fundraiser” for INCA in the evening:

SLOW FOOD FUNDRAISER FOR INCA

FRIDAY, FEB. 6, STARTS at 5:30pm

LAKE COFFEE HOUSE – HWY. 122 (old hwy. 18), CLEAR LAKE, IA (next to Subway – please call if you need directions)

COST: $20

INCLUDES:

Two wine tastings

Fabulous Iowa-produced appetizers

Great Iowa-produced (and locally-made) soup

and… a Fabulous Iowa chef, author and Slow Food Extraordinaire – Chef Kurt Michael Friese

Additional tickets available at event:

Ticket for one glass of wine – $5

Ticket for 3 extra tastings – $5

Event begins at 5:30 with wine and appetizers.

At 6:30 we’ll hear more from our special guest, Kurt Michael Friese, who will share with us his journeys as chef and owner of local food restaurant icon, Devotay, in Iowa City.  Kurt will also read from his new book with us, A Cook’s Journey – Slow Food in the Heartland, published last August.  Kurt serves on the Board of Directors for Slow Food USA. We are excited to have Kurt join us for this weekend event.

To get tickets and information for Friday’s fundraiser, please contact:

Lisa Stokke

641-529-0445

slowfoodlisa@gmail.com

Send check made out to “SLOW FOOD CLEAR LAKE” to:

Lisa Stokke 909 2nd Ave. S., Clear Lake, Iowa  50428

From the Iowa Environmental Council:

Savanna Workshops for Teachers and Naturalists

Join us for the workshop: Iowa’s Roadside Native Communities: Savanna, on Feb. 6-8, 2009 and Apr.24-25, 2009 at Baymont Inn, Coralville, IA. Learn how to help your students explore and improve Iowa Prairies/Savanna. For primary through Community College teachers and naturalists. Participants receive 2 UNI graduate credits, materials, meals and housing for only $180 due to grants. For more information please visit http://www.uni.edu/ceee/eii. Request a paper brochure at bollwinkel@uni.edu, or call 319-273-2783.

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Events coming up during the next two weeks

As always, post a comment or send me an e-mail (desmoinesdem AT yahoo.com) if you know of an event I’ve left out.

Monday, January 26:

The Iowa Environmental Council has organized a Legislative Reception at the Quality Inn, Rotunda Room, 929 3rd St., Des Moines from 5:00-7:00 pm.  Come talk with members of the Iowa legislature about environmental issues that are important to you.

Tuesday, January 27:

From Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement:

BIG Rally & Lobby Day

Mark your calendars and plan to be at our Rally & Lobby Day at the State Capitol Tuesday, Jan. 27. We need you there to show our legislators that thousands of Iowans will be holding them accountable this legislative session to issues like local control, clean elections, homeowner protections and the rights of all workers.

Decisions made at the Statehouse impact us every day. This is our chance to put our issues at the top of the legislative agenda. Join with us today – click here for more information and REGISTER TODAY!

From the Center on Sustainable Communities:

Tuesday, January 27th

Green Home Interiors Seminar Hosted by COSC

4:30 PM – 6:00 PM

DM Green Demo Home

1347 Forest Ave.

Des Moines, IA 50314

The Center on Sustainable Communities is hosting an Interiors seminar on Tuesday, January 27 from 4:30 to 6:30 pm presented by Jeani Lee of Kitchen, Bath & Home and Jamie Malloy of Wells & Associates.  This project is a collaboration between CHDC, COSC, and the City of Des Moines along with many supporting sponsors.  Cost: $10, light refreshments will be served, $5 for COSC members.  Please register by Friday, January 23rd by clicking here or by emailing info@icosc.com. See www.icosc.com and CHDC’s blog for more details.

Thursday, January 29:

From the Iowa Environmental Council’s e-mail newsletter:

Green Networking

Join us January 29 at the Gateway Market in Des Moines, at 5 p.m. Green Drinks of Des Moines has a lively mixture of people from academia, government and business. Come along and you’ll be made welcome. Just say, “Are you green?” and we will look after you and introduce you to whoever is there. It’s a great way of catching up with people you know and also for making new contacts. Everyone invites someone else along, so there’s always a different crowd, making Green Drinks an organic, self-organizing network. These events are very simple and unstructured, but many people have found employment, made friends, developed new ideas, done deals and had moments of serendipity. Green Drinks is the last Thursday of each month at Gateway Market on MLK & Woodland at 5:00 p.m.

Friday, January 30:

Congressman Bruce Braley is holding a town hall meeting on the economic stimulus at 10:00 am at the Grand River Center (meeting rooms 2 and 3), 500 Bell Street in Dubuque. Braley’s town hall meetings on the economy are free and open to the public.  Attendees are encouraged to RSVP at http://braley.house.gov.

From Polk County Democrats:

The Ankeny Area Democrats and The Polk County Democrats Present An Inauguration Celebration Dinner At The Iowa State Historical Building

Friday, January 30, 2009

Catered by Baratta’s Restaurant

Social Hour begins at 6:00 PM

Dinner at 7:00 PM

Live music through the Musician’s Union

Tickets $25 per person

Tickets include chicken / pasta dinner and sides, soft drinks, coffee, iced tea or water

Semi-formal attire encouraged, but not required

Tickets available by calling Tamyra at 515-285-1800 or Mary Oliver at 515-964-1227

Email polkdems@gmail.com or Ankenyareadems@msn.com

Saturday, January 31:

From Iowa Rivers Revival:

IRR is developing a River Stewards Program to address concerns about the public’s general disconnect from rivers.  We have conducted a couple of brainstorming sessions in recent months and have envisioned River Rascals, a river steward program that will offer opportunities for youth to learn more about the importance of rivers and problems associated with them.  We want to engage educators and anyone interested to help develop and implement a program for youth that focuses on river appreciation, recreation and stewardship. We invite you to the upcoming planning session to help make the vision a reality!

River Rascal Program Planning Session

Saturday, January 31, 2009, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Polk County Conservation Board’s Jester Park Lodge, 11407 NW Jester Park Drive, Granger, IA

Agenda: Provide ideas and feedback on draft program details, including curriculum, educators/presenters/partners/mentors, potential participants, venue options, and funding options

No cost (pizza and beverages will be brought in – small cash contribution welcome)

RSVP: rlehman@iowarivers.org or 515-202-7720

Tuesday, February 3:

One Iowa is organizing a forum on marriage equality at 7:00 pm in the Veteran’s Memorial Building, 834 Broad St. in Grinnell.

Wednesday, February 4:

From Iowa Rivers Revival:

Iowa Rivers Revival invites you to join us for a legislative reception to engage Iowa legislators about the importance of our rivers and how they provide many economic, environmental and recreational resources for our state.  Come and share your river experiences. […]  

Our first reception held in January 2008 was a great success – over 50 supporters, including bi-partisan representation from at least 15 Iowa legislators, attended the last-minute event.  This reception provides an opportunity for Iowa’s political leaders to recognize that rivers have representation and an increasing base of support advocating on their behalf.  The purpose of this reception is to raise awareness and to continue having conversations about the issues concerning Iowa’s rivers and our connections to rivers.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Noodle Zoo Café

E 6th & Locust, Des Moines

4:30 – 6:30 PM

No cost

RSVP: rlehman@iowarivers.org

From the Iowa Environmental Council:

The Iowa Recycling Association is sponsoring an Educators Conference on February 4, from 9:00am to 3:00pm, at Plymouth Church, 4126 Ingersoll Ave., Des Moines. Topics and Speakers include “Green Streets”:  Jeff Geerts, Iowa Department of Economic Development; “Marketing Programs on a Budget”:  Mark Signs, Trees Forever; “Character Counts”:  Eric Martin, Character Counts; “Partnerships for Effective Education”:  Mary Gillespey, Darven Kendell, Bev Wagner. Pre-registration is required. Registration fee is $30 before January 1, 2009 and $40 after January 1. A waste free lunch will be provided. Register online at http://www.iowarecycles.org/co… and send payment to: Iowa Recycling Association,  PO Box 10954, Cedar Rapids, IA  52410. For more information contact: Bev Wagner, beverly.wagner@loras.edu or 563-588-7933.

Friday, February 6:

The Iowa Network for Community Agriculture is holding its 14th Annual Local Food Conference on February 6-7 in Clear Lake. The conference is an opportunity to connect the local food “dots” in North Iowa, expand your local food knowledge with dynamic workshops, and celebrate the capacity to sustain ourselves and our communities. Come meet and eat with other local food enthusiasts. Full conference information at http://www.growinca.org.

From the Iowa Environmental Council:

Savanna Workshops for Teachers and Naturalists

Join us for the workshop: Iowa’s Roadside Native Communities: Savanna, on Feb. 6-8, 2009 and Apr.24-25, 2009 at Baymont Inn, Coralville, IA. Learn how to help your students explore and improve Iowa Prairies/Savanna. For primary through Community College teachers and naturalists. Participants receive 2 UNI graduate credits, materials, meals and housing for only $180 due to grants. For more information please visit http://www.uni.edu/ceee/eii. Request a paper brochure at bollwinkel@uni.edu, or call 319-273-2783.

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When horsetrading goes one step too far

I supported the Culver administration’s efforts to expand the bottle bill, even though I disagreed with some aspects of the bill the governor submitted to the legislature this year.

That said, this story from the Sunday Des Moines Register was troubling:

Word came from the lieutenant governor: If gambling lobbyists didn’t help deliver the bottle bill, they were likely to see the death of a much-coveted bill that would provide a financial advantage for casinos.

The behind-the-scenes maneuvering in the Legislature illustrates the political capital Gov. Chet Culver’s administration was willing to spend on the bottle bill – even if it caused lobbyists angst.

Some gambling lobbyists said it would be awkward, and possibly unethical, to lobby for a bill in which their clients either had no stake or had conflicting interests, and they declined to do it.

[…]

Lt. Gov. Patty Judge is unapologetic about asking gambling lobbyists for their help with the bottle bill, even though it caused turmoil in the rotunda. “I talked to a lot of people about that and asked for their help, and I will sure admit that,” Judge said. “I asked anybody within my earshot to help me with the bottle bill.”

She said she did not consider her request to the gambling lobbyists an ultimatum.

Judge’s spokesman, Troy Price, said: “There was never a ‘You do this or else.’ That was never issued.”

If this article is accurate, then what Judge did does not sit well with me.

We all know that “you pass my bill and I’ll pass yours” is a normal way of conducting business in any legislature. I don’t like drawing lobbyists into this practice, though. They should not weigh in on issues that have no bearing on their clients.

In fairness to Judge or anyone else in the Culver administration who may have been on board with this strategy, it’s clear that Iowa legislative leaders are not going to expand the bottle bill just because it’s the right thing to do. (For more on why adding a deposit to more types of beverage containers would be good for the environment, check out the website of the Container Recycling Institute.)

It’s also clear that the broad bipartisan public support for expanding the bottle bill is not enough to overcome the resistance from the grocery and bottling industries.

It says a lot about our Democratic leadership in the legislature if Judge or others thought the only way to counteract the influence of certain industry lobbyists was to enlist other lobbyists to support the bottle bill.

Democrats should be willing to expand recycling programs without needing that kind of a push.

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