August 19, 2022

Landfill commission dumps recycling bins

On Friday, July 15, rural residents of Clarke County were surprised to find the county recycling bins gone from their usual spot on Highway 69 just north of the county maintenance shop (1710 N Main Street), and unhappy to learn that they wouldn’t be coming back.

The bins

Unlike the city residents of Osceola and Murray who have curbside recycling, rural residents of Osceola, Murray, and Woodburn do not. The solution had been to have a receptacle available for those residents to utilize for recycling. Prior to moving north of town, the recycling spot was located in the parking lot of the then-HyVee Pharmacy, 1012 Jefferys Drive.

The four bins, which were owned and serviced by Jim’s Sanitation of Creston and funded by the landfill commission, cost $852 a month.

The Clarke County landfill closed on January 7, 2011 after an Airspace Review done by BarkerLemar Engineering Consultants found there was not enough space left. Citing the ongoing and increasing costs for the landfill closure as required by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (a set amount of funds must be held for a length of time), the commission looked for ways to cut expenses; the recycling bins were one area that met its fate.

There was no communication or signage posted prior to the removal of the bins.


In April of 2013, each city in Clarke County had their own recycle bin when the commission voted to remove the Osceola bin from where it sat in the Hy-Vee parking lot due to cost. By the end of July, the bin was back. Then Clarke County engineer Tom Andersen was quoted in the Osceola Sentinel-Tribune as having said, “the public really wanted it back.”

It was reported at the time that both the county supervisors and the landfill commission would be paying for the recycling bin.

Nowhere to go

The question of where rural Clarke County residents can take their recyclables is still up in the air.

According to Prairie Solid Waste Agency, located on Highway 34 between Afton and Creston, they do not take any trash or recyclables from outside of Union County. Both a representative for South Central Iowa Landfill Agency and their website state that their facility only takes items from member communities, which in Clarke County is only the city of Osceola. Neither Jim’s Sanitation nor Waste Management offer recycling services to rural residents.

Candra Brooks

A native of rural Union County, Candra holds a Bachelor's Degree in English from Simpson College and an Associate's Degree in Accounting from SWCC. She has been at the Osceola newspaper since October 2013, working as office manager before transitioning to the newsroom in spring 2022.