DES MOINES — An update to the 40-year-old bottle redemption bill is closer than it has ever been before.

The Iowa Senate passed their version two weeks ago, Senate File 2378. The House amended that bill to compromise on several different components and it passed on Tuesday, the vote was 70 to 16 in a bipartisan effort.

The handling fee will be raised to 3-cents for redemption centers, which has been 1-cent for decades. Retailers are also able to get that 3-cent handling fee if they decide to collect cans.

“The handling fee is increased in our bill up to what the Senate had wanted at 3 cents,” said State Representative Brian Lohse (R) from Bondurant. “We thought that was the better way to go to get back involved in redemption centers; also it encourages retailers if they so choose to continue taking cans and bottles by giving them the 3 cent handling fee as well.”

Under this new bill, retailers can opt-out of accepting those cans and bottles if they sell fresh produce in their business. Retailers would also need to be under the agreement of having a mobile redemption center on their property, that sends payments to the consumer days later. There are a couple of other ways for retailers to get out of collecting bottles and cans; so this new amendment narrows the Senate’s version of who is able to opt-out of collection.

“Our bill was a little more extensive what we did is take the House bill, take the Senate bill and try to really play up and bring out the things in our bill that were really ensuring that consumers had a place to bring these for as long as possible as we kind of phase the grocers out of the equation,” said Lohse.

Democrats who opposed the bill argued that this will limit the ability of the consumer to return their cans, especially the homeless who depend on grocery stores.

“Senate File 2378 will drastically reduce the number of locations available for Iowans to return their cans,” said State Representative Mary Mascher (D) from Iowa City.

There were several Democrats that thought the consumer was getting cut out of this bill, but they still voted for it due to it extending the program.

Rep. Lohse said that this bill isn’t a final solution, and there could potentially be updates to the bill, if it is passed through the Senate, in the coming years.

“I suspect at that point there are always tweaks to be made so I am not expecting it for next year but down the road,” said Lohse.

It is not on the Senate debate schedule yet, but the lawmakers could take up the amended bill and vote it off to the Governor’s desk soon.