Are Iowans recycling enough?

Bales of recycling material at the center in Ottumwa.

A report from IowaWatch has suggested that Iowans aren't taking advantage of their recycling systems and in some parts of the state, more than 75 percent of what ends up in a landfill could have been recycled.

Recycling saves energy and preserves our natural resources and is therefore important to continue. In the last comparable survey in 2000, 61% of Ottumwans recycled, which is comparable to the national average. In the last year alone, the city recycled 455 tons of newspapers, which equates to about 7,000 trees.

Ottumwa is heading in the right direction when it comes to taking a proactive stance on recycling, but there's always more that can be done.

"I believe that a lot of residents are recycling all that they can and doing a really good job, but I think there are also a lot of residents that either aren't recycling at all or they're just recycling certain items and not everything that could be recycled," said Janice Bain, Manager of the Ottumwa Recycling Facility.

Bain said the one item that most people tend to not recycle is plastic, as there are a lot of different types and many people get confused as to what is recyclable and what is not. Bain said they don't accept laundry baskets, buckets, plastic toys or other similar items, but they can take jars, tubs and food containers like butter.

If you do not have a recycling bin, Ottumwa residents can contact Bridge City Sanitation at 682-1700.

If you have a question on what can and cannot be recycled, contact Bain at the recycling center at 683-0685.