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Iowa City In Focus: Single Stream Recycling

Iowa City In Focus: Single Stream Recycling


Recycling made easy. What you need to know about single stream recycling. Plus, there’s another item that you can’t
put in the trash any longer. “This cardboard ban is part of a larger
effort with City of Iowa City to reduce waste.” And, get to know Goosetown. “It’s a friendly place.” Learn the history of this thriving neighborhood. Finally, are you locking your bike correctly? We walk you through the steps to keeping your ride safe And it all starts right now, on this edition
of Iowa City In Focus. There are some major changes coming to your waste and recycling services. During this show we will tell you about a
new effort to keep cardboard out of our landfill, as well as changes to how the City bills for
yard waste. But we’ll start with an exciting change
to our recycling services that will make it easier to participate. No more sorting. Iowa City is officially switching to single
stream recycling in December. Just toss it in and bring it to the curb. “The only change that is taking place is
that you no longer have to sort your recyclables. So the materials will stay the same. We are not accepting glass, and no plastic
bags.” That means your paper, plastic, cardboard,
metals… it can all be thrown into a bin without worry. The hope is that by making recycling easier,
more people will get involved. “Communities that have switched over have seen increased rates of participation. So it’s a program that is much easier to
participate in than the current sorting system that we have.” In order to make the switch, the City purchased a fleet of new recycling trucks to improve the process of curbside pickup. “These new trucks will make it so we no
longer have to do the sorting at the truck. So the sorting of the paper, the cardboard,
the metal, the plastic, ect. Instead it can all go into the truck together.” This new process saves time at each stop,
which in turn saves gas. The new trucks can also compress the mixed
materials, allowing more recyclables to be collected with each load. From there, the materials are taken to Republic Services in Cedar Rapids. Large loads of recycled materials are dropped off at the sorting facility, where a mixture of machinery and human power do the sorting for you. The materials are loaded onto a conveyor belt. Employees first pick out any plastic bags,
glass, or other items that don’t belong. This a process they repeat at each cycle of
separation. “What they are doing here is more of a quality
control center. They are picking off any plastics, anything
that’s not a newspaper or office paper or a plastic comes off this line.” But it’s different types of technology that
actually separate the cardboard, paper, plastics and other products into separate groups. “And this screen is separating all the fiber
from all the plastics. The fiber rises up and all the plastics fall
through and moves onto another screen.” Another way is an optical sensor that recognizes and sorts certain materials such as plastics. It then uses air jets to blast the materials
into a separate tubing system. So a load of mixed materials runs through
a series of sorting machines to separate into individual categories. Before the product is finalized, it goes through one final inspection. “We do quality checks, it falls into a bunker
here and it stays in that bunker to be bailed up and shipped to our mills.” Patrick says around 80% of the their municipal customers use single stream recycling. “It’s just more efficient for all the
parties. From your homeowner all the was up to the
recycling facility.” Two common questions the City often receives is why we don’t accept glass or plastic bags through our curbside program. Republic Services does not accept plastic
bags because of the problems they can cause to equipment. “They will wrap around our equipment, they
will wrap around our bearings, which can cause these bearings to catch fire.” They also don’t accept glass because it
breaks easily, which can contaminate other materials and pose a hazard to workers. Both plastic bags and glass can be dropped off at any of the City’s recycling drop-off sites in town. Switching to single stream recycling is a
major step for the City’s recycling program. We hope by making the process more simple,
the number full blue bins being set by the curb will grow. *Music* The are are certain recyclable materials that for one reason or another, end up being thrown into the trash. In order to stop these reusable products from making it to the landfill, the City has enacted bans on certain items such as yard waste and tires. Beginning in 2018, another item is being added to that list. “Waste reduction is one of our big goals
at the Iowa City landfill. To really reduce the amount of materials going into the landfill and especially usable materials such as cardboard.” Corrugated cardboard, the kind with the wavy center, is a common product used in moving and storage boxes. It’s an easy product to recycle, but the
Iowa City Landfill and Recycling Center learned just how much gets thrown out when participating in a waste characterization study. “According to our most recent 2017 Waste
Characterization Study, about 3% of what was going into the Iowa City Landfill is cardboard,. This equates to over 4,000 tons of material.” In order to curb the amount being thrown out, the City is enacting a ban on corrugated cardboard at the landfill, beginning in January of 2018. “The cardboard ban is beyond Iowa City. It’s Johnson County, Riverside and Kalona
as well. So anyone that is being served by the Iowa
City Landfill and Recycling Center.” Here’s how it will be enforced. “So at the Iowa City landfill our staff
will be trained to do spot-checking on site. So if there is a load that they consider contaminated, that load will be charged double the regular rate.” In order to prevent those fines, garbage carriers will not pick up a waste bin that has cardboard in it. For Iowa City curbside customers, you will
get a notice of the violation. Here are the different ways you can recycle
the cardboard instead. For those with curbside pickup, cut it up
so it can fit into your recycling bin. “Any cardboard that they have needs to be
2 feet by 2 feet or less, and can go in the bin. Any excess cardboard they have can go right under their blue 18 gallon bin.” If you live in an apartment that doesn’t
currently offer recycling, you can bring it to one of the City’s four drop-off sites. “Anyone that does not have curbside recycling service can take recycling to any of our drop-off sites in town.” This isn’t the most convenient option, but
if you live in an apartment without onsite recycling, that will soon change. “So with the cardboard ban going into place, this is actually really great timing, because we also have a resolution in place that is
requiring apartment landlords to offer recycling to their tenants.” Passed in November of 2016, the measure requires that apartments offer recycling in order to renew their rental permit, which expires every two years. “So by November 1st of 2018, all apartments in Iowa City should have recycling.” By keeping cardboard out of our landfill and putting it into our recycling program, we can all help make a big impact on the community. “Our hope with this cardboard ban is that
we can increase the amount of cardboard being diverted into recycling programs and keep
it out of our landfill.” Properly locking a bicycle is a task that
can easily be overlooked, but if you’ve ever had a bike stolen you know how important
it is. The first step is to choose the right lock. The most secure option is a u-lock. Not only are they incredibly tough, but they
also don’t allow much room for a thief to use tools. A heavy chain or sturdy cable lock can also
work on its own or in combination with a U lock. Another thing to consider is where you lock
your bike. Find an area that is well lit and highly visible with heavy foot traffic. Once you’ve picked a secure location, make
sure to secure the frame of your bike, not just the wheels or handlebars, to the bike
rack. U shaped or ribbon racks are designed to allow the bike frame to lock secured to a fixed post. Make sure it’s a tight fit, making it difficult
for thieves to get at. By carefully consider these things, you can
avoid the unfortunate circumstance of having your bike stolen. In this month’s Know Your Neighborhood series, we delve into the past of the Goosetown neighborhood. It’s a history that includes humble beginnings, an ability to organize, and a growing pride for its community. “Many people in the neighborhood owned geese and they let the geese out every morning. And so it became known as Goosetown.” Located in northeast Iowa City, Goosetown
was first inhabited in 1852 by immigrants from what was then known as Bohemia. “I enjoy the history of the neighborhood. I’ve become very engaged with it.” So much that Marybeth spent years doing research, and eventually wrote a book about the Czech immigrants who created the neighborhood. “Their self reliance, their little farms,
their use of the land, all of those things.” The title, “Small But Ours,” is a translation
from a common Czech expression, which reflects the modesty of the neighborhood and the people who first lived here.” The history of the homes is something neighbors take great pride in. “I love that we live in a historic neighborhood with historic homes.” “It was the very small town, modest circumstances of the neighborhood that appealed to me.” Marybeth’s connection to the history was
taken a step further in 2008. “Isaac Augustus Wetherby came from Boston in 1854.” Also a painter, Wetherby became the first
official state photographer. “He took the earliest pictures of old capital
and the downtown area so he is important for that reason.” And when a developer was planning to tear
down his old home, Marybeth intervened. “I heard that the house was going to be
demolished and I panicked and luckily it was saved and it’s been a joy to inside it.” She got in contact with the family who then
began donating photos, portraits and other artifacts. “These were donated to the house by the
family.” Restoring the house was another way for Marybeth to preserve history, a priority of the neighborhood for sometime. “My name is Karl Clause and I’ve lived
in the Goosetown Neighborhood since 1970 in this very same house.” Around the time that Karl and his wife first
moved into the neighborhood, the City was being asked to purchase land that was then a green space. A developer hoped to to construct three duplexes, which didn’t sit well with some of the neighbors. They organized a group that went to the council. “There were probably around 100 of us and
we appealed to the council to let us have the land to develop it as a neighborhood park.” The council struck a deal with the group to
allow the neighborhood to develop a park, which is now known as Reno Park. “The park marks the formal organization
of this neighborhood as a neighborhood association.” Flash forward the 1990s and you will find
another example of neighborhood camaraderie. The Montessori School operated out of a historic home next to the park, and wanted to build an addition onto the property. “Which would have been facing over the whole length of the park.” So the group organized again, this time using a shirt to market its message. “The t-shirt was in a way our salvation
because everyone in the neighborhood was wearing it.” The park holds a special meaning in the neighborhood, among other amenities. “We are right next to the black angel in
Oakland Cemetery, we are really close to Hickory Hill Park, it has a lot of walking trails.” “I like the parks, like Hickory Hill and
Reno. And all the streets are lined with all these
old trees and it’s just gorgeous.” Today, the neighborhood is made up of a mixture of rental and owner occupied homes, which helps create a diverse atmosphere. “It’s a mixture of older people, younger
people.” “As I’ve aged I’ve been delighted by
the fact that I’m surrounded by people much younger than I am.” A big reason for that is it’s proximity
to the University. “I like that it’s very close to downtown. It’s walkable to everything that you want
to do.” And the friendly factor is beyond Iowa nice. “And the neighbors really do take care of
each other.” For Carl, who has spent 47 of his 85 years
living at his home in Goosetown, it’s more than just a neighborhood or a home. “That is like having a connection to the
womb in a way, it goes back so far in my life.” Next time on Iowa City In Focus… We’ll introduce you to the newest member
of City Council, who is making international news as the first Sudanese-American to hold elected office in the United States. That’s it for this month. Enjoy the New Year. We’ll be back in 2018 with another edition
of Iowa City In Focus

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