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Recycling

Iowa's citizens, local governments, business and industry have proactively worked together to protect Iowa's environment by reducing waste, recycling, manufacturing recycled goods and buying recycled-content products. This cooperative effort has built an impressive recycling industry that creates and retains higher wage jobs and businesses.

Local Recycling Programs

To find specific information on a local recycling program, contact your local landfill.

Recycling Topics

Documents & Resources

 

Recycling Topics

Appliances frequently contain hazardous materials such as refrigerants, mercury-containing devices and PCB capacitors. Iowa requires that all discarded appliances be demanufactured by a permitted appliance demanufacturer prior to disposal. Demanufacturers remove the hazardous components and dispose of them in an environmentally sound manner prior to recycling the metal. There are many locations that collect discarded appliances for processing by a permitted demanufacturer. To locate a collection site near you, contact your local solid waste agency.

DNR Contact Susan Johnson 515-725-8317 Susan.Johnson@dnr.iowa.gov

E-Waste (electronics waste), also known as "brown goods," refers to electronic equipment that is no longer usable or wanted. It encompasses a broad and growing range of electronic devices, including computers, TVs, cellular phones and personal stereos, digital cameras, MP3 players, DVD players and electronic games (but not including household appliances). Today, when an electronic item breaks, it is often perceived to be more cost-effective to discard it and replace it with a new, more modern item instead of having it repaired. With technology advancing at an increasing rate, this trend will only increase, and more and more E-Waste could potentially end up in landfills.

E-Waste Facts

  • Over 100 million computers, monitors and televisions become obsolete each year in the US.
  • About 300 million other consumer electronics such as cell phones and DVD players become obsolete each year in the US.
  • E-Waste accounts for 40 percent of the lead and 75 percent of the heavy metals found in landfills.
  • Consumers have, on average, two or three obsolete computers in their garages, closets or storage spaces.
  • Computers contain valuable metals including gold, silver, palladium, platinum, aluminum and copper.

E-Waste Resources

Cathode Ray Tubes (CRT) Collection & Recycling

DNR Contact Susan Johnson 515-725-8317 Susan.Johnson@dnr.iowa.gov

Mercury is a naturally occurring element (Hg on the periodic table) that is found in air, water and soil. It exists in several forms: elemental or metallic mercury, inorganic mercury compounds, and organic mercury compounds. Elemental or metallic mercury is a shiny, silver-white metal and is liquid at room temperature. If heated, it is a colorless, odorless gas.  Exposures to mercury can affect the human nervous system and harm the brain, heart, kidneys, lungs, and immune system. For more information regarding mercury, please visit EPA's website.

DNR Contact Theresa Stiner 515-725-8315 Theresa.Stiner@dnr.iowa.gov

Switch bucket for mercury switch disposal.

On July 1, 2020, Iowa’s requirements for vehicle manufacturers to provide a system for the recovery of mercury- containing switches from vehicles (Iowa Code 455B.803) will end. This includes the $5 bounty auto manufacturers pay for each recovered mercury switch. 

What’s not changing: Auto manufacturers, as part of a national, voluntary, agreement, will continue to provide collection containers and free recycling of recovered switches to vehicle recyclers until December 31, 2021.   This will continue to be done through the End-of-Life Vehicle Solutions (ELVS) program.  The requirement for mercury switches to be removed prior to delivery to a scrap recycling facility remains in place.

Send in your bucket! In order to receive the bounty for switches already collected:

  1. If needed, request a replacement bucket and shipping label by calling (800) 495-6059 or e-mail elvsbuckets@usecology. Provide your company name, shipping address and bucket size (small or large). If you do not have the shipping label that came with your collection bucket submit your request no later than June 1, 2020. 
  2. Enclose the log of make and model numbers or VINs in the collection container.
  3. Tie the plastic liner in a knot and tightly seal the container.
  4. Use the box and prepaid shipping label provided when you received the bucket and schedule a pickup with UPS. In order to ensure that US Ecology receives the container by June 30, 2020 it needs to be shipped no later than June 15, 2020.  If you no longer have the shipping label or box, use the one that came with the replacement bucket.  All buckets must be sealed in a cardboard box and shipped UPS GROUND to the ELVS contractor:      EQ – A US Ecology Company (formerly EQ Industrial Services, Inc.)      Attention: ELVS Program      6500 Georgia Street      Detroit, MI 48211      (800) 495-6059
  5. Give the sealed and labeled box to your UPS driver when at your facility.  If you do not have visits from a UPS driver, simply drop off your package at the nearest UPS drop off outlet (a list of outlets are available on the web at www.ups.com).
  6. ELVS will verify the number of switches eligible for the bounty. Mercury switches from ABS or vanity mirrors may be included in the collection container, however the bounty will not be paid for them.

For a list of vehicles containing  mercury switches, videos on how to remove the switches and various other information, visit the ELVS website

ELVS Annual Reports

DNR Contact Theresa Stiner 515-725-8315 Theresa.Stiner @dnr.iowa.gov

Mercury Thermostat

Iowa Code 455D.16 establishes a program for the collection and recycling of mercury thermostats. The major provisions of the law are:

  • Mercury thermostats may not be sold in Iowa.
  • Mercury thermostats must be managed as hazardous or universal waste
  • Manufacturers have developed and implemented a plan for recycling mercury thermostats
  • Wholesalers act as collection points
  • Retailers  provide recycling information to consumers

To find a thermostat collection point near you or to become a collection point, please go to: http://www.thermostat-recycle.org/ Manufacturer's Plans:

The owner of a brand of mercury thermostats that was sold in the state of Iowa is required to submit a plan for the collection of thermostats. The following two plans have been approved:

Thermostat Recycling Corporation's Annual Reports:

DNR Contact Theresa Stiner 515-725-8315 Theresa.Stiner@dnr.iowa.gov