The Ottumwa Recycling Center opened in June of 1992. Recycling operations have remained relatively unchanged. The communities we serve were the same then as now, with the exception of Eddyville leaving our planning area to join Mahaska Counties planning area. All but the very smallest communities had curbside collection then, and still do. The only items we have added to our list of accepted items are, newspaper inserts, paperboard, rechargeable batteries, electronics, and fluorescent tubes. We have added the acceptance of hazardous waste and sharps to the operation since it opened. Additionally, the Recycling Center started demanufacturing appliances. Appliances were always accepted, but IDNR did not require them to be demanufactured until later. The hours of operation are listed below:
Monday – Friday 7 AM – 4PM & Saturday 7 AM – Noon
2415 Emma Street
Ottumwa, Iowa 52501
Items that can and can not be recycled are listed below:
Cardboard, Newspaper, anything that comes in the newspaper, Office Paper, Paperback and Hardback Books, Magazines & Catalogs, Telephone Directories, Paperboard (no pop or beer cartons), Tin and Aluminum Cans, Empty Aerosol Cans, Plastic Bottles and Jars, Glass Bottles and Jars, Tires, Rechargeable Batteries, Automotive or Lead Acid Batteries, Electronics, and Scrap Metal are the items we recycle.
We accept fluorescent tubes free from households, and we accept them from businesses for a fee. We have the Regional Collection Center for Household Hazardous Materials. Hazardous Materials can be dropped off for no charge by Wapello and Davis County Households by making an inventory, and scheduling an appointment. Businesses that generate a very small quantity may schedule and appointment and drop Hazardous material off for a fee.
We also take sharps for no fee from residents. Drs. Offices and Veterinaries may bring them for a fee.
Items that are NOT recyclable that are commonly sent to the Recycling Center are:
Styrofoam Plastic film, such as what’s around water bottles
Plastic Bags Misc. plastic that’s not a bottle or jar (Tupperware)
Plastic packing material such as the air filled plastic pillows
Paper Plates Kleenex
Tanglers, such as garden hoses and wire hangers. Wire hangers are recyclable, but should not be put in the recycling bin.
There are challenges to recycling
Locally as well as nationally recycling has become an everyday habit, and many citizens either don’t realize that they put things in the recycling bin that are not recyclable or there is a term called “wish cycling” where the resident wishes it was recyclable or hopes it is, so they put it in their container and hope for the best. Contamination has grown to be a big problem. Some contamination renders the recyclable product of no value, and some items get tangled up in machinery or put employees at risk. When recycling first became prominent as a way to conserve natural resources and save energy, people were anxious to promote it as “free”. Of course recycling isn’t free. Like landfilling material, recycling also costs money, but it saves a resource to be used again, and conserves energy, while burying material in the landfill only takes up space.
– To help the Recycling Program Citizens can recycle everything that is recyclable, and don’t put materials in the bin that aren’t recyclable. If in doubt, ask or throw it out.
Andy Morris has placed recycling bins at various businesses here in Ottumwa that he collects and makes sure the items get recycled. He is looking for additional businesses to place recycling bins. Should you desire to have a recycling bin in your place of business, feel free to contact Andy at (641) 683-0600.
In 2018 the Recycling Center took in 4,720,460 lbs. of material. 1,668,780 lbs. of that was from Ottumwa Curbside Collections.
If you are interested in more information on recycling, call the Recycling Center at 641-683-0685.
Some websites that can provide further information are: