Winneshiek County Recycling Department Manager Terry Buenzow, left, and Winneshiek County Board of Supervisors Chairman John Logsdon at the drop-off building expansion. (Photo by Sarah Strandberg)
Winneshiek County Recycling's drop-off building is the busiest county-owned structure, according to Winneshiek County Recycling Department Manager Terry Buenzow.
"Considering it is open 24 hours, seven days a week, 365 days a year, the drop-off building easily has more daily traffic than any other county building. There are even regular workdays on occasion where the traffic exceeds that of the courthouse. Days like that are becoming more frequent," Buenzow said.
An expansion of the drop-off building located in front of the recycling center in Freeport began recently and will provide space for materials such as cookware and Christmas lights to be recycled.
It will also provide more room for the "Freeport Library." The public is allowed to take books that have been recycled, and Buenzow said for every book removed, 10 more are left at the recycling center. Books are the one material the county allows to be removed from the recycling facility and Buenzow said patrons have begun referring to the book drop-off site as the Freeport Library.
"The hardcover books will be moved there and it will be a much more comfortable environment for looking through them," Buenzow said.
Buenzow said when the expansion is completed by mid June, there will be room for other items to be recycled.
"The expansion is necessary because direct-delivery traffic (as opposed to the use of recycling bins) has been increasing at such a rapid rate. The present drop-off building that was built in 2010, which was four times larger than the previous one, was outgrown quite some time ago," Buenzow said. "Since Christmas of 2012, we have had to come in seven days a week to empty it. Once people try the drop-off building, they usually come back."
During construction, temporary recycling bins are available in the parking lot of the recycling center.
"It's wonderful. It's a great problem to have. Most recycling programs are begging for people to participate. Our problem is keeping up ... we're always needing to expand," Buenzow said.
North side addition
A 10-foot by 120-foot storage addition was recently completed on the north side of the main building, for non-heated storage space. Part of the structure is open and part of it is closed.
"This will free up a lot of space in the main building. Our operating efficiency will improve if we are not so cramped," he said.
The two recycling projects will cost about $30,000 and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources is funding two-thirds the cost through its solid waste alternatives program.
"Both building additions are part of our never-ending efforts to improve our operating efficiency. A system like ours can only go as fast as its slowest process and we fix those in order of severity. In this case, we had an intake system that was quickly becoming inefficient because it could not handle the demand and it was also starting to interfere with providing good public service. This will help alleviate those problems."
When the building projects are completed, repairs will be made to the parking lot, which Buenzow said has been "beat up" by all the traffic there.