A woman speaks at the Iowa City City Council meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016. The meeting addressed the Waste Minimization Strategy Implementation, which could start extending recycling services to apartment complexes and provide curbside food waste collection. (The Daily Iowan/Olivia Sun)

City eyes recycling moves

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A proposed change in City Code may increase recycling and green efforts in the Iowa City community.

By Naomi Hofferber

naomi-hofferber@uiowa.edu

The first consideration of a motion to a change in City Code passed 7-0 Tuesday night at the Iowa City City Council meeting.

The amendment to City Code Title 16, Article 3H would require recycling services to be provided to apartment tenants, provide curbside food-waste collection services, ban computer monitors and televisions from the landfill, and require loads entering the landfill to be covered or secured.

“We’ve been working on some of these for a long time, so it’s great that they’re all coming to a head at once,” said Jennifer Jordan, the recycling coordinator for Iowa City. “So much of what goes into our landfills is recyclable or doesn’t need to be there; it has value somewhere else, it can be recycled or reused.”

The goals of the amendment would reduce the landfill load by 15 to 16 percent; of the landfill, an estimated 17 tons is apartment recycling, 500 to 1,000 tons is food waste, and computer monitors and television sets are around 350 tons.

Chris O’Brien, the city director of Transportation Services, said that for developments built after Jan. 1, this would go into play automatically; but for existing developments, there would be a grace period for landlords to comply.

UI sophomore Jamie Porter, a member of the University of Iowa Student Government, and Jacob Simpson, UISG City Council liaison, both addressed the council in support of the amendment.

“At the university, we have the opportunity for students to recycle in the dorms and practice something that they’ve learned, and then a lot of the time, they have to go off campus, and they don’t have that ability,” Simpson said.  “I think now that the city has taken this step to provide this in off-campus buildings, we cannot just see a benefit to Iowa City, but I think this is going to be something that benefits the state and beyond, as people become more accustomed to recycling.”

Several councilors supported of the change, and the motion passed 7-0.

“I am absolutely thrilled by this achievement,” Councilor Rockne Cole said.

For local Iowa City environmental advocates, this move is a step in the right direction. 100 Grannies, an environmental group that operates in the Iowa City area, has addressed the City Council previously in hopes of getting plastic bags banned and advocating the use of reusable bags. The group supports the proposed change.

“We support it very much, we’ve talked with them in the past and we’ve encouraged them we’ve been very vocal,” Ann Christenson of 100 Grannies said. “Anything we can get the city to do, we’re behind. Our motto is to educate, advocate, and agitate.”

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