Terry Buenzow
Terry Buenzow
Having to expand to accommodate more recycling is a great problem to have, according to Terry Buenzow, Winneshiek County Recycling (WCR) coordinator.

Today (Friday, Nov. 15) is America Recycles Day and Buenzow took the time to talk about how Winneshiek County recycles.

"Winneshiek County doesn't have a lot in common recycling-wise with the rest of the state. We are so far past the days of having to beg people to recycle, we don't even do that anymore," said Buenzow.

Last summer, WCR expanded its drop-off center in Freeport to accommodate the large amounts of recycling traffic coming to the center.

"People come 24/7. Our traffic is double what it was last year," he said.

Buenzow added there are many area residents who seem to enjoy doing their own sorting and who take their time doing so.

"They really get into it. That's their thing. And we don't want people to feel rushed," he said.

While, the county also maintains 14 bins offsite in Winneshiek County communities, having people bring the recycling directly to Freeport helps the county's recycling budget.

A place to meet

Buenzow said one of the things he enjoys seeing is people who come to recycle and end up running into people they know and visiting.

"Some of them stay for an hour. We're working on changing our parking a little so people can stay a while," he said.

Buenzow said new directional signs are helping more people find WCR, many from outside the area.

"Decorah is a retail center and people are coming a long ways to shop here. Many are also adding a stop at their recycling center to their schedule,' he said, adding you don't have to be a resident of Winneshiek County to use WCR.

"We're seeing lots of people from Minnesota, which is great. We love everybody," he said.

Paper handling

Buenzow reminds the public WCR has a new machine for processing books and he is always looking for old textbooks, paperbacks and phone books.

He said ideally he likes to keep 10 tons of books on hand at a time.

"When you process, you need bigger quantities on hand. It's far more efficient to do big power runs," said Buenzow.

In addition, Buenzow reminds individuals and corporations the facility has a high-security shredder and processes around five tons of paper a day.

"People can drop off items for shredding between 6 a.m. and 2 p.m. Monday through Friday," said Buenzow.


Buenzow said he appreciates how users respect the recycling center's amenities.

"We're probably the only recycling plant that had to put in a remote camera system, not for security, but for traffic control," he said.

Buenzow added he is pleased so many people make such an effort to bring their items to Winneshiek County as all profits from the center help offset the cost of running the facility and help reduce property taxes.

"We hope people like it that they're never rushed or out," said Buenzow.

"We hope people will find it a user-friendly place when they come here," he said.

For more information, visit Winneshiek County Recycling on Facebook or winneshiekcounty.org/recycling.htmlm or call 563-382-6514.