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Iowa Stepping Up Saturday for America Recycles Day

PHOTO: Residents of Iowa recycle more than a million tons of material a year. Photo credit: Steve Snodgrass/Flickr.
PHOTO: Residents of Iowa recycle more than a million tons of material a year. Photo credit: Steve Snodgrass/Flickr.
November 13, 2014

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - This Saturday, November 15, marks America Recycles Day, and Iowans are being reminded of the positive impacts recycling has on their community and environment, and that more material than ever doesn't need to go into a landfill.

When recycling programs first began in Iowa, only the "basics" like paper, plastic, cardboard, and glass were accepted. Joe Horaney, communications director with the Cedar Rapids/Linn County Solid Waste Agency, says it now goes far beyond that.

"Electronics, fluorescent bulbs, batteries, car batteries, medical shards and hazardous materials," says Horaney. "Everything from paints and stains to lawn chemicals, motor oil, gasoline, things like that. It's really going to the next level."

Statewide, about a third of all waste is recycled, totaling more than one million tons of material each year.

The recycling industry in Iowa supports more than 11,000 jobs, and generates an annual industrial output of more than $2 billion. On top of that are the environmental benefits - and Horaney notes each person can have a positive impact.

"It's something that's easy for people to do every single day," he says. "No matter where you live, whether it's Eastern Iowa, Des Moines, Western Iowa, you probably have some pretty good recycling options. We just want to keep reminding people that you can literally make a difference one day at a time. Take advantage of all your resource recovery options."

As part of the festivities around this year's America Recycles Day, those across the state and nation are being asked to take a selfie while recycling and post it to social media.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - IA