Driveway collection of hazardous waste will begin this fall in Windsor Heights as part of a new recycling pilot program being studied by Metro Waste Authority. All residents in the city will be able to sign up at City Hall to participate in the collection, for which residents will pay a user fee of $25 for either one or two small recycle bins to fill with recyclable household hazardous waste. Once the items are in the totes, residents will call the waste agency to arrange for personnel to pick up the bins for transport to the regional collection center in Bondurant.
The program is termed “houseside pickup” because residents can leave the bins next to their house or driveway, instead of taking them to the curb.
The program is expected to start Nov. 1, said Amy Hock, public relations specialist with the waste authority. The pilot will last about one year.
The program is starting in Windsor Heights in part because of City Councilman Steve Peterson, who serves on the Metro Waste Authority’s board of directors.
“The idea came at the staff level,” Peterson said. “At Metro Waste Authority, they were brainstorming and thought because of our geographic proximity to the collection center, our small size and the fact that our residents are actively engaged in recycling, it might be a good place for a pilot program.”
He said officials with the agency spoke with City Manager Marketa Oliver and him about it.
“We’re really excited about this project,” Peterson said.
Residents will receive a list of items that can and cannot be placed in the bins, which have secure covers, Hock said. A waste agency worker will retrieve bins on the second Friday of the month, by appointment, she said. Bins then go to the collection center, where they will be emptied and cleaned for return to City Hall, where residents can again check them out by paying the user fee.
Peterson said he’s unsure why the city has such a high participation rate in the Metro Waste Authority recycling program, but, he said the small, tight-knit community seemed like an ideal place for this pilot project.
The city held a hazardous waste disposal event last month and 325 vehicles collectively contributed about 11,500 pounds of waste.
“We knew there was quite a demand out there for this, and people have asked about it,” Peterson said. “It’s another great service from Metro Waste Authority to help people take care of the environment.”
Hock said she’s not familiar with another program like the hazardous waste pilot program in Iowa. Metro Waste’s collection center services 20 counties in the state, she said.
“This houseside service offers residents convenience,” she said. “We want to make sure they have an easy option” for recycling.
“It’s not a done deal,” Hock said of the pilot program. “The whole purpose is to see if it’s cost effective, if people are using it, if it’s worthwhile and sustainable. If so, we want to continue to offer it throughout our area.”
Hock said MWA ultimately hopes to educate residents, urging them to buy fewer hazardous products and to use non-toxic, “greener” products when possible.
“We’re helping teach them the best practices, to buy what you need, to use what you buy,” she said. “We provide information about alternative, non-hazardous and non-toxic alternatives.”
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