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State chooses Le Mars as marketing model

Friday, August 5, 2011

The success of a City of Le Mars program to help citizens recycle will be showcased for other Iowa cities.

Le Mars Mayor Dick Kirchoff announced the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is marketing the city as the No.1 model for recycling success.

Kirchoff said he was asked to contribute information about the city's recycling program for a DNR color brochure on the Solid Waste Alternatives Program (SWAP).

SWAP offers financial help to develop and implement recycling and solid waste management projects, according to the DNR.

The city has received three $20,000 forgivable loans through SWAP, according to Le Mars Assistant City Administrator Bill Cole.

Reports to the city council indicate the money has been used to help pay for the cost of buying blue tote recycling containers and to promote recycling in cooperation with Van's Sanitation and Recycling, of Le Mars, and the Plymouth County Solid Waste Agency.

Kirchoff wrote about an increase in recycling as part of his information for the DNR SWAP publication.

"Since partnering with the Iowa DNR and SWAP, the city has gone from recycling 90 tons of solid waste in 2006 to recycling 407 tons in 2010," Kirchoff wrote.

The mayor also stated citizens are more aware of what can be recycled, how recycling can save them money, and how recycling benefits the environment and the community.

Kirchoff told the city council this week the SWAP program division staff is trying to encourage more cities to recycle and is using Le Mars as the model in the effort.

The mayor also commended citizens for their shift from throwing away to recycling.

"On behalf of the city council, I just want to thank everyone in Le Mars for the great job you're doing in recycling," Kirchoff said. "It's definitely been a great asset."

The city expects to close the books on the SWAP forgivable loan programs later this year.

Cole said two of the loans for $20,000 each have already been forgiven.

The final $20,000 loan requires one more quarterly report to be filed in October of this year.

Quarterly reports cover what has happened with the program in the quarter and, at the end of the contract, a summary report covering the history of the program as well as successes and failures is submitted, Cole said.

The most recent recycling volume report indicated citizens kept 418 tons out of the landfill by recycling during the first seven months of this year.

The latest city information indicates the 2010 recycling effort is surpassed.

The city council mandated recycling by rotating recycling and trash collection every other week as of January 1. Prior to that, trash was picked up weekly.

Citizens may request a free recycling tote by calling the city at 546-7018 Monday through Friday.

A free schedule of the recycling and garbage collection dates is also available at city hall, 40 Central Ave. S.E., Le Mars, and online at www.lemarsiowa.com.

A list of items which may be recycled is also on the website.

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The increase in recycling in Le Mars is great news! Altho the invisible hand of Big Brother made it a little more necessary than just choice in many households. I much prefer the method in CR of picking up both recycling AND garbage each week tho I realize there is more cost in this method. If they phased that out into a method of every/other week pick up like Le Mars, I'm sure I, and more other residents, could manage (assuming the extra savings is passed on to us as well).

-- Posted by djruden on Mon, Aug 8, 2011, at 8:52 AM

Any chance the EPA will showcase Le Mars as the No. 1 model for a putrid smelling town anytime soon? This is due, of course, to the brilliant idea of every other week garbage pickup during the summer and the associated 90+ degree weather. Stop bragging about the "success" supposedly achieved. Is it really a success, when you forced it down our throats? Try going back to weekly garbage collection, and still offer recycling. THEN, and only then, will you get a true idea of how much people recycle, when they have the CHOICE to recycle.

-- Posted by DissentingOpinion on Mon, Aug 8, 2011, at 10:54 AM

I am all for recycling and saving our environment, however dissenting is right on the money. Having it shoved down our throats does not constitute success.

-- Posted by Baddog on Thu, Aug 11, 2011, at 3:16 PM

I was sceptical of the EOW garbage pick up when it was proposed. I have been surprised that even through the heat of the summer our garbage never did have an offensive smell.

Congratulations to Le Mars for being recognized! Forced participation, not withstanding.

-- Posted by working_class_dog on Mon, Aug 15, 2011, at 10:04 AM

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