Since the COVID situation began two months ago, recycling volumes in Winneshiek County have increased significantly, but so has the volume of items that are not recyclable.
"Cardboard has been coming in at a rate that is almost like a holiday season," says Winneshiek County Recycling Department Manager Terry Buenzow. "It is obvious by looking at the boxes coming in that a big portion is from an increase in home delivery. All of the county cardboard bins fill up very quickly." The paper, plastic, and can recycling bins have been filling up quickly too, but not always with recyclable items.
"Since the COVID thing started we have seen more illegal dumping than we have had in an entire year," explains Buenzow. "Many of the bins that come in are well over 50 percent garbage or other material that should not be put in the recycling bins, such as barbed wire, fence posts, etc."
According to Buenzow, the dumping problem is coming from all parts of the county. "In Fort Atkinson we found the bin full of toys, plastic lawn furniture, and football helmets. In Hesper the bin was full of PVC pipe and wood. In Ossian the bin was packed with fence posts, field tile, and barbed wire. We found a bin full of vinyl siding in Festina. The Ridgeway bin was packed with diapers and food waste," shares an exasperated Buenzow.
"Why so many people have found the urge to dump illegally during this time is a phenomenon that no one saw coming," says Buezow, "There really is no excuse for it."
For detailed information about recycling in Winneshiek County, including a list of accepted and unaccepted materials, visit https://www.winneshiekcounty.org/departments/recycling