Access to recycling limited at Cedar Rapids apartment complexes

Published: Jan. 9, 2023 at 10:51 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - There used to be both green and white dumpsters at Pheasant Run Apartments. Now, the white ones are gone.

“There was two dumpsters. So one must have been for recycling and the other for regular trash,“ said Draziyo Amuda, who lives at the complex. She was right, and the removal of the white recycling dumpsters means an uncertain future for recycling at the complex.

A KCRG TV9 producer also lives at Pheasant Run. She reached out to management to learn if her access to recycling was gone permanently. Management told her future recycling options were a possibility, but the white dumpsters had been removed because of contamination.

We were having so much contamination with the recycling that they were just dumping it with the regular trucks so they removed them and brought out a bigger dumpster. We have been discussing whether to put a recycling container up by the office for those that want to recycle. The owner will let me know what they decide hopefully soon.

Pheasant Run Apartments

The change at Pheasant Run prompted TV9 to look more closely at access to recycling for people who live at apartment complexes in the area.

Bailey Caldwell lives at Goldfinch Meadows Apartments, where there is also not an option to recycle. She added, “All the apartments I’ve lived here in town haven’t had recycling.”

According to Joe Horaney with Cedar Rapids-Linn County Solid Waste Agency, apartment complexes in our area contract with private company Republic Services to take care of recycling. What exactly the process looks like depends on the community. Horaney said, ”the private communities, kind of depends on where they are. The ones in northern Linn County that do recycling, they bring it to us, we’re the middleman again, and then take it to Republic. We charge them to do that. And then other ones on the southwest side, like your Fairfax, and maybe Ely, they can haul directly to Republic as closer for them to that.” Either way, though, that private company is a component.

TV9 reached out to Republic Services to learn how many apartment complexes in Linn County are customers. We did not receive a response.

Horaney said the country is facing “a very tough recycling landscape.” He added, “There is a cost, you know, recycling is not free. There is a cost to go do all the processing and things like that.”

Cedar Rapids Tower Apartments is a place in the area that does offer recycling. Property manager Shelby Schott said the business’ recycling charge is added on to trash, but it’s not much: one dumpster load taken away three times a week is $100 a week, plus an environmental recovery fee of $80.

“I think, one, just for the environmental reasons, it’s very nice to do it,” said Schott. “But two, I think, like, our dumpsters would be, like completely full with cardboard... I can only imagine how full the trash cans would be if if they were full of cardboard, but I think it’s just overall we care, you know, for our environment.”

Horaney said for now, people living in apartments without recycling have two options: take their recycling to the Solid Waste Agency’s location on County Home Road or ante up.

“It’s a matter of if residents really want it, they need to go to their management but just realize there’s going to be a cost put on to that,” said Horaney.