After five years of operation, the Pottawattamie County Rural Recycling Center continues to serve residents throughout the County, with goals to create even more avenues for local participation. In 2018, the Pottawattamie County Rural Recycling Center (PCRRC) was constructed in Oakland. The effort was made possible with support from the Iowa West Foundation and with the guidance of the Pottawattamie County Recycling Taskforce. The overarching objective of the facility is to encourage participation in recycling, minimize waste to conserve energy, recover resources, and protect the environment. The Pottawattamie County Public Health Department manages PCRRC, and officials say establishing relationships throughout the community has been vital to its success.

“What we’ve tried to do since day one in this facility is emphasize the importance of collaboration,” said Matt Wyant, Director of Pottawattamie County Planning & Development and Pottawattamie County Public Health. “We’re grateful for the assistance we’ve received from local organizations to help accomplish our goals, and we’re excited about the participation from our residents that have helped ensure our county is thriving for future generations. Together, we’ve really made a difference,” said Wyant.

Prior to operations moving to the current location, rural recycling was managed out of a small and aging building near Hancock. The move to the new facility, located off Industrial Drive in Oakland, has allowed easier access for residents, and expanded recycling services.

“We accept a number of items at no cost to our residents,” said Tom Grobe, Recycling Center Manager. “Paper, cardboard, plastic, glass, metal, and household hazardous waste like batteries and oil are all accepted free of charge. We’ll take a few other items for a small fee, and we operate Tuesday through Saturday to meet the needs of our community the best we can,” said Grobe.

In 2022, PCRRC saw significant participation in recycling from residents and local businesses.

Total weight of recyclable goods processed by PCRRC has steadily increased over the past three years. In 2020, the total weight processed was 1,670,208 pounds. Totals increased to 1,876,030 pounds in 2021 and reached 2,444,914 pounds in 2022. Part of the continued growth is attributed to the expansion of accessible avenues for locals to participate. PCRRC currently offers portable recycling trailers, strategically placed throughout the County. Trailers are currently placed at several County parks, and inside the towns of Treynor, Carson, Macedonia, Oakland, Hancock, Walnut, McClelland, and Crescent. The exploration of providing more avenues to promote convenient participation in recycling will continue to be a focus for department officials.

“We have goals to continue to expand our reach,” said Wyant. “We’d like to add some additional trailers throughout the County in the future, and it’s exciting to think about how we’ve grown and where we’re headed.” Another way PCRRC has worked to reduce waste is through dedicating space at the facility for its “Swap Shop.” Unwanted items in usable condition are placed in a manner resembling a thrift store. From furniture to electronics, there’s a wide array of offerings. Residents can donate items or browse the selection on-hand, taking home what they’d like.

“It’s been a very successful venture for us,” said Grobe. “Many residents have benefited from that program, and it’s a great way for us to promote responsible disposal of unwanted items.”

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