Apr 9, 2021 - News
Iowa ranks in top 10 of nation's recyclers
Empty plastic bottles
Photo: Epics/Getty Images

Iowa is the 10th best state for recycling, according to a new report funded by the Ball Corporation.

Why it matters: We’re making progress towards long-time waste management and environmental goals.

  • Yes, but: We still have a long way to go.

Details: All but six states have recycling rates below 50%.

  • Iowa has a 44% recycling rate for common containers and packaging materials, excluding cardboard and boxboard.

The big picture: About 25% of U.S. waste is actually recycled, the study shows.

MWA has a 10% contamination rate, less than half of the national average, Deputy Director Leslie Irlbeck told Jason.

  • "It’s generally due to 'wishful recycling.' People want to divert things like plastic children’s toys. We want those things to be recyclable but they’re not," Irlbeck said.

What's next: Metro Waste Authority will open a new $24 million material recovery facility in November.

  • With new machines that'll be able to better process materials like thin plastics, the Grimes facility is expected to help boost the efficiency of the Curb It! program, which collects more than 20,000 tons of materials each year.
  • Of note: MWA manages recycling collections of all of our suburbs, but DSM’s recycling is conducted by the city crews — meaning it won't benefit from the new facility.
MWA's material recovery center
Ongoing construction at MWA's material recovery center in Grimes. Photo courtesy of MWA

This story first appeared in the Axios Des Moines newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.

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