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Recycling Efforts Increase In Tri-States

Galesburg's website

Parts of the region are making more of an effort to go green.

In Galesburg, IL. nearly 75% of residents are now recycling. The increase, especially in the last two years, appears to be linked to Galesburg offering wheeled recycling carts instead of large recycling bins.

“The residents have really been positive about liking the cart and the lid,” said Galesburg’s Solid Waste Coordinator Julie Main. “It’s a lot easier for them to use and since it’s a large container they only have to put it out every other week instead of every week.”

Main said the city is also working with its recycling truck drivers to help educate residents about what can and cannot be recycled.

“They have a sorry bright orange sticker and they are saying sorry we cannot accept items contaminated with other waste material and they will put styrafoam, packing peanuts, diapers and believe it or not another big one is people do not clear out their pizza boxes,” Main said.

Galesburg collected 1,469 tons of recyclable materials last year. That translated into saving $45,560 in tipping fees for disposal at the landfill.

Meanwhile, GRRWA General Manager Wade Hamm said recycling is up in Lee County, IA. over the last five years.

He also said that is just the start as the waste authority is looking to expand recycling into unincorporated portions of the county.

Currently, Keokuk and Fort Madison residents can take their recyclables to the curb for pick-up while residents in smaller cities like Donnellson and Montrose can drop them in a large trailer.

Credit Jason Parrott / Tri States Public Radio
Tri States Public Radio
The GRRWA's recycling facility near Fort Madison.

That trailer is then hauled to the GRRWA landfill near Fort Madison by a city employee.

Hamm said the waste authority and Lee County are trying to team up to make that possible for unincorporated communities like Franklin and Denmark.

"(We are trying to) come up with a plan and possibly go out for bid for somebody... to transfer them to our facility and then back (to the community) after they are empty," said Hamm.

Who would pay for that position remains in question.  The cost of the trailers would be covered by the GRRWA.

Jason Parrott is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.
Emily Boyer is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.