By: Date: January 19, 2021

Recycling has been around since the early 1970’s! The first recycle mill was built in Pennsylvania in 1972 and curbside recycling came on the scene in 1973…since then thousands of cities across America now provide curbside recycling programs for their residents.

Carroll County Solid Waste Management Commission (CCSW) opened the doors of the Carroll County Recycling Center on November 1, 1990. This year commemorates 30 years of providing recycling services to citizens of West Central Iowa. What began as a county recycling center is now a Regional Recycling Center, providing recycling services and management to 6 counties in West Central Iowa.

Almost 50 years of recycling in America…and recycling basics and management still falls into a grey area for many. We know the simple basics of what can be recycled, such as glass, metal, plastic, paper and cardboard…but we really don’t understand WHAT items made of these materials can be recycled…or WHERE to put the materials…or HOW to sort them for collection.

Did you know that recycling at CCSW is hand sorted?
Ever hear the term Commingles? It refers to glass, cans and plastic.
Did you know that when garbage is in with recycling, it costs A LOT of time & money to remove it and haul it to the landfill?
Or that glass, cans & plastic goes to a separate warehouse area from where your paper & cardboard goes?
How about that when paper & cardboard gets mixed with commingles it can be damaged enough that it ends up in the landfill?
Finally…NOT ALL glass or plastic can be recycled! Or, that ALL steel & aluminum CAN be recycled…just not in the curbside program?

Currently, Carroll County’s Rural Recycling Trailers are being misused. Folks either don’t understand what can be recycled, or they are intentionally using them as a garbage dumpster.
“When the trailers arrive filled with garbage at the Recycling Center, it puts a physical hardship on the Professional Hauling employee to hand unload it…and the staff of the Recycling Center to hand sort it,” states Commission Director, Mary Wittry. “It’s a needless expense and a hardship that could be eliminated if everyone learned recycling basics and applied them at home.”

As we celebrate 30 years of recycling in Carroll County, we ask everyone join us in keeping ALL of our recycling programs available and functioning well. Sadly, our Rural Recycling Trailers are facing removal if they cannot be used properly. Visit our website at for full recycling basics and WHERE to take those items that are not recyclable in the curbside or rural trailer program. Keep our Rural Recycling Trailer Program available in the future! Recycle correctly, our planet and this program depends on it!