Winneshiek County Recycling Guidelines



Here are some specific lists of things we will and will not accept.


Cardboard we take:

Basic corrugated boxes or sheets, cereal boxes, shoe boxes, or similar containers. Please remove all Styrofoam, plastic bags, and any other packaging. Staples, tape, and labels are okay to leave on.

*Corrugated cardboard is not allowed in our landfill. Please recycle it.*

Cardboard we do not take:
Milk or juice cartons, plastic or wax coated boxes, or any cardboard contaminated with oil.

Newspapers, magazines, catalogs, office paper, egg cartons, Kraft paper, phone books, junk mail, brown paper bags, feed sacks, books, and shredded paper. Please deliver hard cover books directly to the recycling center as they need to be processed separately from all other forms of paper.

Paper we do not take:
Paper towels, plates, or cups, toilet paper, wall paper, waxed paper, Christmas wrap, and stickers.

Items stamped with #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, or #7 such as milk jugs, soap bottles, butter tubs, yogurt cups, buckets, pop and water bottles. Triple rinsed herbicide and dairy supply barrels are okay, too.

Plastic we do not take:
Styrofoam, plastic bags, toys, vinyl siding, PVC pipe, plastic feed sacks, films, rubber, carpet, foam, silage bags, Tyvek, field tile, or motor oil bottles.

Tin cans, pop cans, aluminum foil, frying pans, cookie sheets, license plates, stainless steel kitchen items, cast iron skillets, brass items, electrical cords, electric motors, and wall chargers.

Metal we do not take:
Nails, screws, large scrap iron items, microwaves, TVs, computers, electronics, or major appliances.

Glass is only accepted directly at the recycling center and is restricted to clear, non-redeemable food container glass only. Glass with an Iowa nickel deposit on it should go to a redemption center. Find more information about redeemables on campus here.

How to prepare your cardboard

Please place all cardboard LOOSE in the cardboard recycling bins. Please flatten your boxes for two reasons. First, it allows more cardboard to fit into the containers and keep the recycling areas clean. Second, it ensures removal of other materials that do not belong such as plastic and Styrofoam. Failure to remove trash or flatten boxes adds significant time to recycling pick-up. You do not have to remove the staples and tape that hold the box together.

What happens to it the cardboard?

Cardboard is usually recycled back into new containers. Milk cartons and other wax coated containers can not be recycled because the wax will not separate from the cardboard fibers.

The majority of the cardboard from Winneshiek County is sent to the International Paper mill in Cedar Rapids, the largest cardboard recycling mill in the U.S. Let's help keep this facility here in Iowa well supplied.

How to prepare your paper

Please place all paper loosely in the paper compartment of the recycling bins. Do not leave it in a plastic bag or tie in a bundle with string. Paper is baled directly from the collection bin. Unbagging materials is very labor intensive and expensive. Remove rubber bands, plastic or large metal clips. Staples are okay to leave.

What happens to your paper?

Newspaper is usually recycled back into new newspaper. Often it is sent to the same mill that makes the newsprint used for many of the papers published in Winneshiek County. Sometimes your paper is sent to a facility that grinds it into cellulose insulation that can be purchased locally.

Hard cover books can not be mixed with other paper because they can not be re-pulped at a paper mill like an old newspaper or magazine is. Hard cover books are dismantled individually at the recycling center.

How to prepare your plastic and metal

Please place all plastic and metal loosely in the plastic/metal recycling bins. Do not leave it in a plastic bag. Rinse metal containers and remove the labels. The recycling center is set up to process materials in loose form. It is very expensive to have to unbag items.

What happens to plastic and metal?

Plastics are the most complicated and confusing of all the materials taken. They have to sort the plastics by their number at the recycling center because the different types are not compatible with each other when they are re-melted at a plastic processor. The plastic identification number and recycling symbol is usually found on the bottom of the container.

Most of the #1 plastic, which is usually a water or pop container, is made into fabrics or carpet. The #2 plastic, which is usually a milk jug or detergent bottle, can be made into pails, toys, car parts, or construction materials. Motor oil, antifreeze, and pesticide containers can not be recycled because they originally held toxic materials that have permanently contaminated the plastic. This can be confusing because many of them have the recycling symbol on them.

Metal items are some of the easiest products to recycle. In fact, almost all of them have some recycled content. The basic tin can may end up being part of a new car or made into a can again. Aluminum beverage cans usually become new beverage cans or foil. Aluminum frying pans and cookie sheets can become about any other aluminum product there is.