Bottle Bill Resource Guide

Name  Beverage Container Deposit Law
Purpose Litter Control
Enacted 4/1/1978
Date Implemented Beer, soft drinks - May 1, 1979; wine/liquor - July 1, 1979
Regulations Iowa Code, Chapter 455C and Chapter 107
Beverages Covered Beer, carbonated soft drinks & mineral water, wine coolers, wine & liquor
Containers Covered

"Any sealed glass, plastic, or metal bottle, can, jar or carton containing a beverage."

Note 1: "Nips" (wine & liquor bottles ≤50 mL) are effectively included in the deposit law because they are not explicitly excluded.  

Note 2: Paper cartons are effectively excluded from the deposit law because they are not glass, plastic, or metal.

Amount of Deposit
Unclaimed Deposits Unclaimed deposits are retained by beverage bottlers and distributors.
Reclamation System Retail stores and redemption centers
Handling Fee 1¢, paid by distributor to retailer or redemption center
Deposit Beverage Container Redemption Rate
Material 2012 [1]     2016 [2]
Glass 63%     76%
Plastic 64%     53%
Aluminum 84%     62%
Total 78%     64%
% of All Beverages Sold That Are Covered By Deposit 63% [3]



Deposit containers banned from landfills in 1990; retailer can refuse containers if agreement exists with an approved redemption center.

The redemption rate was estimated at 93% in the year 2000 [4]. 

Updating the estimated redemption rate is not done every year due to a lack of resources [5].


[1] An 86% recycling rate was estimated in 2012 (Dermot Hayes, "Economics of the Iowa Bottle Bill," Iowa State University, Jan. 2012. Table 1), based on waste composition data collected in 2005 by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources: personal communication from Bill Blum, Financial & Business Assistance program planner, Iowa DNR, Land Quality Bureau, 2/27/2015. Deductions made for recycling through curbside and dropoff programs (see below note).

[2] The State of Iowa does not collect data on deposit containers sold or redeemed. Sales estimates were derived from CRI's 2017 Beverage Market Data Analysis (using 2015 sales data). Material-specific recycling rates were derived by the Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources using data from its 2017 statewide Waste Characterization Study ("Final 2017 Iowa Statewide Waste Characterization Study," SCS Engineers for Iowa DNR, 12/28/17) with analytical assistance from CRI. This study reported a 71% overall deposit container recycling rate. See: "Study shows new recovery rate of containers in Iowa." Press released issued by Iowa Department of Natural Resources, January 18, 2018. 

Note: that reported overall recycling rate included deposit containers redeemed for the 5-cent refund, and deposit containers recycled through other channels where consumers voluntarily forgo the 5-cent refund. CRI then used curbside & dropoff percentages from California (2012 and 2016) as proxies to estimate deductions for deposit containers recycled through Iowa's curbside and dropoff programs, and derived a 64% overall redemption rate in Iowa. We did this to be consistent in reporting redemption rates across all 10 deposit states.

[3] "2019 Beverage Market Data Analysis." Container Recycling Institute. 2022.

[4] Source: Iowa DNR, Waste Management Division, as per phone conversation with Jeff Geerts on 8/29/01 (year 2000 estimate).

[5] See Footnote 2.


Last Updated on August 5 2022.

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Contact - Iowa

For information on labeling requirements, please contact your government agency.


Bill Blum
Iowa Department of Natural Resources
Land Quality Bureau
502 East 9th Street
Des Moines, IA 50319
[email protected]


Iowa Recycling Association
PO Box 10954
Cedar Rapids, IA 52410