Iowa ranked seventh in a national state-by-state analysis of waste-reducing policies, infrastructure, waste production and recycling rates. In its “2023’s Best States at Managing Waste” report, lawn care startup LawnStarter ranked states based on 28 metrics in four categories: Policies, Facilities, Recycling and Waste. Data came from other LawnStarter studies, Ball Corporation,, Environmental Finance Center at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Habitat for Humanity, The Recycling Partnership, National Conference of State Legislatures, Northeast Recycling Council,, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and US Composting Council.

While Iowa ranked only 14th in both the Policies and Recycling categories, it ranked third in facilities and fifth in waste. Iowa has mandatory recycling laws, earning it a full score in the heaviest-weighted metric in the “Policies” category, but it was docked in electronic waste recycling programs presence, plastic bag bans presence and multifamily recycling policies presence, compared with the rest of the nation. Iowa tied with the nation’s best performers in beverage container deposit laws and yard debris bans.

Iowa had the fourth-best recycling rate for common containers and packaging material and the 10th highest share of production-related waste recycled. However, it ranked around or below average in the rest of the Recycling metrics. Those metrics included tons of hazardous waste recycled (31st), share of production-related waste managed for energy recovery (36th), number of Habitat for Humanity ReStores (22nd) and car junkyards (23rd).

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