Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! We are especially thankful for the recycling center staff and the Winneshiek County Sanitary Landfill team and everyone that works in waste management.

As we head into the holiday season, we’ll be sharing weekly posts about the Do’s and Don’ts of seasonal recycling. As you can imagine, there is a lot of waste produced during this time of the year, so please follow these tips to ensure that what you put in the recycling bins can be recycled.

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Compost Your Jack-o’-lantern

Did you know that you can compost your jack-o’-lantern when you need to throw it out? For folks that compost at home, this is a great addition to your pile! The pumpkin will decompose faster if you can break it up into smaller chunks, but even if you don’t take this step, it will still fall apart over time! Mix the pumpkin with your compost and let the microbes do their work!

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Aluminum can be recycled continuously without losing quality. If you have aluminum that you need to dispose of, please bring it to the recycling center! We will gladly accept crushed aluminum cans as well.
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Plastic Beverage Containers Containing Liquid

Plastic beverage containers stamped with a #1 are currently recyclable in Winneshiek County. However, if these items contain a significant amount of liquid when they arrive at the recycling facility, they are thrown in the trash and transported to the landfill. Please remember to empty your beverage containers before throwing them in the recycling bin. Thank you!

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Numbers on Plastic Products

When we sort our plastic containers, it’s important that we check for a number on the product to determine whether we can recycle it or not. Typically the number can be found on the bottom of the container. In the example below, the number is located on the side of the bottle near the bottom. Plastic items stamped #1 and #2 can be recycled in Winneshiek County. Plastic products labeled #3 through #7 and those that do not contain numbers cannot be recycled in Winneshiek County, as there is no market for those materials at this time.

Plastic and Metal Bottle Caps

Plastic Bottle Caps

In Winneshiek County, we ask that you remove bottle caps when you recycle your plastic containers. There are two reasons for this:

  1. Removing the cap allows the bottles to be compressed more when they are baled. This allows more plastic to be transported in one load.
  2. Plastic caps typically do not contain a number. If they do, they are usually greater than #2 which means we can’t recycle them in Winneshiek County. At this time, the county only accepts plastics stamped #1 and #2.

Metal Bottle Caps

Metal bottle caps can be recycled if you take the proper steps:

  1. Separate your bottle caps into empty aluminum and steel cans. If the cap sticks to a magnet, it’s steel. If not, then it’s aluminum.
  2. Place the steel caps in the steel can and aluminum caps in the aluminum can.
  3. Once the containers are halfway full with caps, crimp the cans closed so the caps don’t fall out when they are processed.

Loose metal caps that are thrown into the recycling bin are less likely to be recycled because they are often too small to be identified. As a result, they fall through the screeners in the sorting process and end up going to the landfill.

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Milk Cartons

Milk cartons cannot be recycled at the Winneshiek County Recycling Center. Cartons generally contain a thin layer of plastic coating on the inside. The mix of paper and plastic in this product make it difficult to recycle. Please throw milk cartons in your trash bin. Plastic gallon jugs and half gallon jugs can be recycled.

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