City council extends recycling services to all Iowa City residents


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Changes to Iowa City code make curbside recycling services available to all residents of Iowa City. (Mike Mahaffle/flickr)
Jenna Ladd | October 20, 2016

Iowa City council voted unanimously on Tuesday to ramp up recycling efforts in the city.

The first consideration of the amendment to City Code Title 16, Article 3H passed  7-0. It requires recycling services to be available for all multi-family units; currently the city only services single-family households up to four units. Changes made to city code will also provide curbside food-waste collection services and prohibit residents from dumping computers and televisions into the municipal landfill.

City council member Rockne Cole is a long-time proponent of the measure. He said, “We’re looking at diverting over 1,700 tons of material from the landfill.”

University of Iowa and community environmental groups have been advocating for a city-wide recycling program for years. Jacob Simpson, UISG City Council Liaison, said that these changes benefit students who wish to continue recycling after moving off campus. He said, “At the university, we have the opportunity for students to recycle in the dorms and practice something that they’ve learned, and then a lot of the time, they have to go off campus, and they don’t have that ability,” Simpson added, “I think now that the city has taken this step to provide this in off-campus buildings, we cannot just see a benefit to Iowa City, but I think this is going to be something that benefits the state and beyond, as people become more accustomed to recycling.”

City director of Transportation Services Chris O’Brien said that all residential complexes built after January 1, 2017 must immediately comply with the new recycling policy. Landlords that own existing dwellings will be granted a grace period to get in compliance.

City council member Cole added, “It’s a real great victory for the University of Iowa, our community and most importantly, the environment.”

On the Radio: No plastic bag ban for Iowa City


Photo by heal the bay, Flickr
Photo by heal the bay, Flickr

Listen to this week’s radio segment here or read the transcript below. This week’s segment discusses a decision by council members to allow the continued use of plastic bags in Iowa City.

Council members have decided not to ban plastic bags in Iowa City.

This is the Iowa Environmental Focus.

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Flood Center model predicts response to mitigation


The Iowa River - photo by Jim Malewitz

As Iowa City considers three multimillion dollar flood mitigation projects, the Iowa Flood Center is predicting their outcomes. The results would be a mixed bag for Iowans living along the Iowa River, the model predicted.

From the Iowa City Press-Citizen:

Iowa City’s public works director said Monday that initial forecasts from a flood-modeling program show proposed mitigation projects will result in lower water levels along Taft Speedway and other points upriver of the Park Road Bridge in the event of future flooding.

For a proposed levee on the east side of the river from Highway 6 to the Crandic Railroad bridge, flood levels just north of there would rise by three-quarters of an inch in a 100-year flood and 2¾ inches in a 500-year flood, Fosse said….

Meanwhile, downriver, the effects of the mitigation projects would raise water levels at points north of two new levees during future floods, the model shows.

And for a proposed levee on the west side of the river from McCollister Boulevard to the Crandic Railroad, Fosse said levels just north of there would rise by similar heights.

View the Flood Center’s many maps.