Professional trash analysts visit Linn County Landfill - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Professional trash analysts visit Linn County Landfill

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MARION (KWWL) -- After sorting through garbage for more than 20 years, even the most rotten of refuse fails to turn the stomach of Judy Gilow of GRG Analysis.

"When you first get here, you'll go 'oh, this stinks,' but then after you've been in the building or on the face of the landfill, after a while you don't even notice it," Gilow said.

It's Judy and her husband Elmer's job to sort through hundreds of pounds of junk, to find out if people living in Linn County are doing their part to keep recyclable material out of the county landfill.

"They're trying to go for an accurate mix of both residential, commercial waste, and then also construction debris waste," explained Joseph Horaney of the Linn County/Cedar Rapids Solid Waste Agency.

This week, they'll sort through 50 randomly-selected piles brought in from around the county, each weighing about 200 pounds. The solid waste agency will then use the team's findings to decide if they need to raise awareness of recycling programs.

"If we find out that there is too much plastic, for example, coming in, we'll do targeted marketing campaigns, we'll do more advertising, just to let people know, hey, there is an option," Horaney explained.

GRG has been to the Linn County landfill before, and they said fewer recyclables are coming in than in previous visits.

"They say they're seeing an improvement," Horaney told us. "Since their first visit here, we've banned cardboard from being thrown away in the landfill."

It's a dirty job, and the Gilows have found some interesting things through their work.

"Found a rattlesnake in Arizona," said Elmer, going on to list some others: body parts, a display model coffin, and full tuxedos.

"I guess, name it, we've found it," Elmer laughed.

Sometimes, however, they do find a bit of treasure. Elmer showed us a pocket knife in perfect condition that he "found in the garbage about ten years ago."

Online Reporter: Brady Smith

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