February 3, 2013

Iowa City Struggles with Recycling at Apartments, Condos

Print More
The Iowa City Landfill and Recycling Center, which serves Johnson County, Kalona.

IowaWatch file photo by Sujin Kim

The Iowa City Landfill and Recycling Center, which serves Johnson County, Kalona.

Four of every five households in Iowa City, a city with an aggressive recycling program, do not have access to curbside recycling.

The Iowa City Landfill and Recycling Center, which serves Johnson County, Kalona and Riverside, receives about 450 tons of refuse daily. (IowaWatch/Sujin Kim)

The Iowa City Landfill and Recycling Center, which serves Johnson County, Kalona and Riverside, receives about 450 tons of refuse daily. (Sujin Kim/IowaWatch)

The availability of residential recycling gets even smaller where curbside service is not available.

“Compared to the number of trash Dumpsters, the number of recycling Dumpsters is pretty small. I would say it’s less than 10 percent,” Jen Jordan, recycling coordinator at the Iowa City Landfill and Recycling Center, said.

Jordan blames this on people not wanting to pay private garbage haulers the extra cost for recycling services when haulers offer the services.

The city runs a curbside collection program for single-family houses and apartment buildings that have up to four units. But any Iowa City business or apartment larger than a four-plex must rely on private waste haulers.

Iowa City being a college town, it has an abundance of apartments, condominiums and student renters. That’s why Jordan has been working to specifically improve apartment recycling with a Best Management Recycling Manual. Called the BMP manual, it focuses on improving recycling for apartments larger than a four-plex throughout Iowa City.

“Apartment recycling, in particular, is huge,” Jordan said.

Recycling at multi-family apartments “has been a long time coming, and it’s coming to a head right now,” Jordan said. “I hope that the BMP manual and the information gained from the pilot program is going to instigate some change.”

Jordan said it is highly unlikely that the city will take over recycling services for apartments and condominiums. But she sees the 20 percent curbside availability rate for the 15,000 households the city serves is an opportunity for improvement.

BACK TO MAIN STORY
BACK TO MAIN STORY
This IowaWatch story appeared in The Gazette (Cedar Rapids, IA) and Iowa City Press-Citizen.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *