LIGHTER LOADS: Landfills Helped By New Trend

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Want to see a mountain in Iowa? This is the time.

“It’s 2,800 tons and usually we’re around 2,000+," says Tom Hadden of Metro Waste Authority, "so it’s significantly higher and one of the reasons are the community cleanups.”

This weekend, Ankeny adds its share to the pile.

“The beauty of having these events," says Ankeny Public Works director, Al Olsen,"is that we don’t find a lot of this stuff in our ditches and in the areas around the community.”

But it does go somewhere and that place is here.

“When the landfill opened," says Hadden, "you could pretty much put everything in them and over the years appliances are no longer allowed, businesses can’t put in appliances or electronics.”

And that’s okay because there is a market for them and it’s growing.  Midwest Electronics Recovery in Clive has found a way to recover aluminum, gold, copper and even plastics from computer parts profitably and responsibly.

“We have a no export policy," says owner, Rollie Schultz, "so we don’t export stuff to China, India or any other third world country.”

And they also take the dreaded CRT monitor and the bane of landfills, the old TV.

Consumers pay less now than ever, just five to ten dollars.

“In some cases they think they can re-sell it to us," Schultz says, "they think it still has value. It doesn't. It’s outlived its purpose.”

With cities like Ankeny bringing electronics here, they can make room for less toxic trash.

“You want to bring your back deck, you wanna tear down the fence this weekend, bring it, we’ll take it,” Olson says.

And the landfill—is just a little nicer place.

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