Tag Archives: recycling

Apr. 05, 2017

Closed Loop Fund Case Study

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Here’s the backstory: Closed Loop Fund provided a 10-year, zero-interest loan to Waste Commission of Scott County for the recent purchase of recycling carts now in use by residents of Davenport and Bettendorf. Now the social impact funder is sharing lessons learned from our community to help others who want to build great recycling programs of their own. How cool is that?! Here’s what Closed Loop has to say in its press release:

Lessons from the Closed Loop Fund Portfolio

Scott County, IA sees 61% lift in recycling and more than $100,000 in new savings and revenue for municipalities in less than a year.

The recycling lift came from surprising places in Scott County where they have seen a 61% increase in just the first year after the Closed Loop Fund and the County invested $10.75mm in new infrastructure, including recycling carts and a newly upgraded county owned and operated MRF.

The Commission expected to see a sizable lift in volumes of recyclable materials coming into its MRF due to the new full size recycling carts in Davenport and Bettendorf. However, the Commission has also been surprised by how much new material is coming from nearby communities, indicating that the Quad Cities region had previously been underserved with no nearby single stream MRF. Now materials that used to travel much longer distances are coming in from 60-100 miles away.

Serving the Quad Cities community, including Davenport and Bettendorf, Iowa, the Commission operates a multifaceted facility, including its recycling center, e-waste center, MRF and landfill. The Commission is also the local KAB affiliate and leads community-wide education efforts about recycling.

Waste Commission Director Kathy Morris says, “We’ve very pleased with the program results so far. Davenport and Bettendorf are recycling more, and we’re able to serve additional communities.”

Lessons Learned –What went right and how others can do it too:

Key Insight 1: Best Practices in Education Campaign Effectiveness.
The Commission invested in a robust education and promotion plan for the launch and rollout of the new recycling program. They used data from a public perception survey to inform messaging and outlets, and made strategic use of funding and ambassadors in the community to get the message out. The community-wide, multi-platform campaign was informed by resources and tools from The Recycling Partnership, a national nonprofit, and executed by a local PR firm. Since the initial launch, the Commission has dedicated attention to follow-through to ensure education efforts have long-lasting effects.

Key Insight 2: Making the Decision to Continue MRF operations.
When the Scott Area Recycling Center’s aging recycling equipment needed to be replaced, the Waste Commission of Scott County and its intergovernmental partners, the cities of Davenport and Bettendorf, pursued the change from dual to single stream recycling by evaluating three options – own and operate the MRF, send materials to a privately-owned MRF, or outsource operations to a private entity. Bucking the trend among municipality-owned MRFs today, this analysis concluded that the best option was for the Commission to own and operate an upgraded Recycling Center, and at the same time increase inbound volumes by marketing to more nearby municipalities.

The Closed Loop Fund case study includes insight tools to help others adopt Scott County’s best practice.

The case study also highlights other key success factors for Scott County that can help others implement a successful program:

• Aligned public officials, who were committed to a transition to single stream and increasing diversion.

• Vertically integrated operations, which means the Commission coordinates closely with municipalities on collections, and markets commodities. More value comes to the County as a result.

• Solutions for a wide range of accepted materials, which allows the Commission to find the right home for materials coming into the MRF.

• Sufficient volumes in the County and nearby region. The upgraded MRF now has capacity to sort and process twice as much material as before. The real magic of Scott County’s new recycling services kicked into gear when the Commission began to attract recyclables from the greater Quad Cities region.

For more case studies or to learn how to apply for funding, visit www.closedlooppartners.com.

Mar. 09, 2017

Recycling Q&A, V2

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Here we go! It’s another installment of Recycling Q&A. We’ve compiled the most common question we’ve been hearing about the Go All In recycling program, and we’re answering them here. Have a question for us? Drop us a line at info [at] goallinqc.org.

Q: How do I recycle shredded paper?

A: Please place shredded paper into a paper bag. Fold it over or staple it, then mark the bag on both sides with the words “Shredded Paper” so that our workers can identify it and pull it off the line for recycling.

Please do not place shredded paper into your cart loosely. If you do, it could become blowing litter when the recycling truck tips your cart.

If you have a large quantity of shredded paper to recycle, you can drop it off in the dedicated roll-off container labeled “Shredded Paper” at the Scott Area Recycling Center, 5640 Carey Ave., Davenport.


Q: I have a small, empty propane tank. Can I recycle it?

A: Yes, but not in your recycling cart! For safety reasons, pressurized cylinders should be disposed of through our Household Hazardous Materials program. Appointments no longer required.


Q: I have an old set of encyclopedias (or other hardback books). How do I recycle these?

A: You can recycle books in your recycling cart. Please remove the covers first.


Q: What do I do with greeting cards?

A: You can recycle paper greeting cards. Please do not recycle cards that contain embellishments such as jewels, ribbons, or other materials. These types of cards can be repurposed for craft projects, such as scrapbooking, or they may be thrown away.


Q: Can I recycle milk cartons?

A: Yes, milk cartons are recyclable. Please empty and rinse before recycling.


Q: I’m confused about Styrofoam. What do I do?

A: Styrofoam is garbage. We do not have a way to recycle it, so it should be thrown away, regardless of the number it may have stamped into it.

Oct. 27, 2016

You Asked! Recycling Answers Revealed, V1

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Q-C recyclers have been asking some super questions about the new GO All In recycling program.

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Every now and then, we’ll post Q&A based on your questions. Chances are, if one person asked it, many more people are wondering about it.

Here we go!

Plastic bags
Can I recycle plastic bags in my cart if they have a number on them?

A: No. Plastic bags and films of any kind are one of the biggest hazards at our recycling facility. Plastic bags become tangled in our sorting equipment, posing real hazards for our sorting staff. Once staff untangles them, they are trucked to the landfill. You can help keep recycling workers safe by keeping plastic bags out of your recycling cart. Instead, recycle bags at grocery stores.

Can I recycle Styrofoam in my cart if it has a number on it?

A: No. Styrofoam, even if it’s marked with a number, does not go into your cart. Styrofoam should be disposed of in your garbage cart. If you place Styrofoam in your cart, workers must sort it out by hand, and then it gets trucked to the landfill. The process is much more efficient if you place Styrofoam into your garbage cart, instead.

Scraps of metal and metal items
Can I recycle small pieces of metal in my cart? I have curtain rods.

A: No. Scrap metal, no matter how small, does NOT go in your cart. Metal pieces can damage our sorting equipment and create hazards for the people who sort your recyclables by hand. You can recycle scrap metal by dropping it off at the Scott Area Landfill. (The material will be recycled and not landfilled.)

Shredded paper
How do I recycle shredded paper?

A: To recycle shredded paper, place it inside a paper bag. Close the bag and mark it “Shredded Paper” in bold letters. Then place it into your cart. A second option is to bring your shredded paper to to the Scott Area Recycling Center, 5640 Carey Ave., Davenport. There’s a container just for shredded paper in the drop-off recycling area out front.

Pop and beer cartons
Q: Can I still recycle pop and beer cartons?

A: Yes! The slick-coated cartons used to package pop and beer go into your cart.

Window envelopes
Do I need to remove the small, plastic window from envelopes before recycling them in my cart?

A: Nope. The truth is, this hasn’t been a concern for many years. Just pop the whole envelope into your cart!

Any questions?
Have a question about what’s recyclable? Contact us or use the online recycling & disposal search tool.