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Winneshiek County Recycling dedicates a new Household Hazardous Materials facility

Posted: Tue, Apr 18, 2017 5:27 PM
(Photo courtesy of Janelle Halverson)

The Winneshiek County Recycling Center in Freeport will now begin accepting household hazardous materials five days a week.

The new facility means that starting Wednesday Winneshiek County residents will no longer have to wait for a special collection day to drop off their household hazardous materials, but can take them to the Freeport facility when it is staffed from 6:00 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.

Recycling Director Terry Buenzow says the new equipment that will be used to recycle the hazardous wastes was paid for through a $54,366 grant from the Iowa DNR.  DNR Director Chuck Gipp, a Decorah native, was on hand Tuesday afternoon for a "cable-cutting" ceremony.

All staff members at the recycling center in Freeport have received DNR training on the recycling of household hazardous wastes such as chemicals.  That means there will always be someone on staff who can help the public with their household hazardous wastes.

Buenzow says having such recycling be an option 42.5 hours a week instead of just twice a year means it will eliminate having homeowners hang onto their hazardous wastes.  For instance, he tells the story of a homeowners who wanted to recycle gopher pellets, which got wet and were carried in his vehicle for two weeks--a potential problem with poisonous fumes.

Instead, having a facility that can handle household hazardous wastes on a regular schedule will help to educate the public about what to do with chemicals they no longer want--some can be disposed of just by opening cans to the air--like paint cans.  Others will require handling by the Recycling Center staff, in which case Buenzow says his staff will tell the public, "Bring that over right away!"