Wasting "waste" in Dubuque landfills - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Wasting "waste" in Dubuque landfills

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -- The City of Dubuque wants to know what you think about solid waste. The city is studying ways to reduce the amount of waste in the Dubuque Metro Landfill. There is a desire to go green, but it involves spending green.

It's windy days, like Tuesday, where Paul Schultz can see just how much waste is wasted in Dubuque.

"There's still a lot of materials that could be put into the recycling bins. There's a lot of materials that could go into the dumpsters for recycling," said Resource Management Coordinator Paul Schultz.

Just look at the plastic bags the lining the fence, or the empty plastic coke bottles. All are recyclable. All are piling up in this landfill, which is why the city is researching ways to reduce waste here, asking for your input.

'It's been a challenge to take people into this cause it costs people more money but to be sustainable costs a little bit more," said one women know as the Litter Queen.

Dubuque is already progressive when it comes to going green.  Proudly known for the longest running drop off program, first major city to do curbside pick up and the first city to compost food scraps.

"When everything is all mixed together and we have a mess it's very uneconomical and dangerous to try to separate but if you separate from the start you have some materials that have value," said Schultz.

Schultz says 50% of all material that goes to the landfill can be recycled - 20-30% can be composted.. People at Tuesday nights meeting say it's possible but the issue lay in costs.

"The optimism is there. The biggest problem isn't finding material and recycling it but being able to pay for it," said Scott Dittmer of Dittmer Recycling.

Researchers suggest changing regulations to force change, so windy days like Tuesday, mean resources, revenue, and green jobs for Dubuque. .

"Looking not at waste but at resources. These are assets in the community we're gonna capture them and turn waste into wealth," said Schultz.

No specific solutions will be decided until public input is given at upcoming meetings. Wednesday, April 8th from 6:30 to 8:30 at the Dubuque Municipal Services Center. Or Thursday, April 9th from 6:30 to 8:30 at Loras College in the Arizona Room.

Online reporter: Lauren Squires

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