The failure of the bottle bill, Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes said, is that it wasn’t indexed for inflation. If it was, the nickel deposit on alcoholic and soft drink beverage containers would be 17 cents and the 1-cent handling fee would be 3 cents.
“It was a beautiful set of incentives when it was designed,” Hayes said. “There was no bureaucracy. Nobody was forced to do anything. It ran itself and created employment and took material out of the landfill.