On Earth Day, Iowa City celebrated new ways for people to go green. Sunday, the city opened a brand new multi-million dollar recycling center on the city's east side.
Marilyn Larson lives on the east side of Iowa City. She's been a long time advocate of recycling. But until now, she's had to drive across town, outside the city limits to drop off her paper and plastics.
"We have to do this. For all the plastic I throw in every two three weeks--it's amazing," Larson said.
The East Side Recycling Center is a project six years in the making. It offers people 24-hour access to recycling bins for materials ranging from plastic to newspapers and even oil products. The facility partners with two non-profits next door: Johnson County Historical Preservation's Salvage Barn and Iowa Valley Habitat for Humanity's Re-Store, both of which contribute to its go green efforts.
"They take donations from the public of building supplies and they basically re-sell them to the community. So it's a low cost way to put stuff in your home. And the landfill and the city look at this as diversion because it's stuff that might have otherwise gone to the landfill and it's not," said Jen Jordan with the East Side Recycling Center.
Habitat also takes furniture and electronic item donations. Another unique feature of the site is an education center which will be open to community groups for hosting environmental workshops. It's built to high energy efficiency standards, using recycled building materials, while solar, wind, and geo-thermal energy power it.
"It meets a basic need for recycling on the east side of the community, but it also pushes the envelope in terms of getting people to think about environmental practice--getting people to recycle and reuse their products and furniture and building materials, as opposed to putting them in the landfill. And it shows how you can construct a sustainable facility that uses less energy over time," said Iowa City Mayor Matt Hayek.
Now that the center is open, the city hopes people from across Johnson County will use it on a regular basis to help the community be more eco-friendly.
The East Side Recycling Center's office is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
Next weekend, it will host a prescription drug drop-off event. You can bring in any expired or unused medications from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
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