Residential recycling is not the only type going on in Plymouth County.
The county's solid waste agency is also expanding its construction and demolition (C&D) debris recycling program.
Mark Kunkel, landfill manager, shared some of those activities during the Plymouth County Solid Waste Agency Appreciation Dinner last week.
A little more than 5 tons of nails have been sold for iron while more than 500 tons of metal and about 1,500 tons of clean wood have been hauled out of the landfill to be reused, he noted.
The solid waste agency board allowed for the purchase of a second mini excavator, which is used to sort through the materials, Kunkel said.
"I think this year by the time we get done we are going to be close to 3,000 tons that we are not going to bury this year," he said. "That's almost half of what we get coming in."
To aid in the sorting of the C&D materials, the solid waste agency received an $11,550 grant from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
Those dollars will be used to purchase four 21-yard roll-off containers to hold sorted materials, Kunkel said.
"Right now we put it in a pile on the ground," he said. "When a container is emptied, we transfer the pile into that."
Concrete and bricks are also sorted from the C&D and recycled at the landfill, said Scott Vander Sluis, part-owner of Van's Sanitation & Recycling, in Le Mars.
"He (Kunkel) takes the concrete up to the top and grinds it down so they can use it on the roads at the landfill," Vander Sluis explained.
He added that shingles are also ground at the landfill, noting that with recycling the compactor doesn't have to work as hard burying materials.
Kunkel said the compactor is used "about once a week."
Recyclable materials that are removed from the C&D area are either sold or taken away by other companies.
For example, the clean wood runs an ethanol plant in Chancellor, S.D., that operates on natural gas, Kunkel said.
"That doesn't cost us anything," he said. "They just take the product."
Another new activity involves sorting cardboard, plastic buckets, barrels, plastic pipe and silage tarps out of the C&D materials, Kunkel said.
Van's has partnered with the Plymouth County Solid Waste Agency to purchase residents' recyclables and sort them at a facility on Highway 75, north of Le Mars.
"Working with Van's now, we have an outlet for that stuff," he said. "It's really working well for us."