Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
The Black Hawk County Solid Waste Management Commission has compiled a list of questions that our educators field on a regular basis. If you have questions about a topic or an item not listed in our FAQs, please contact our Waste Trac Education Team at at 319-266-8722 or via e-mail.
What do I do with….?
Contact the Black Hawk County Sherriff’s Office or your local police department.
Donate them to the Cedar Valley Bicycle Collective.
- Before you donate your books, check out the recipient’s book donation policies.
- Check with your local library or nearby school library about donating to their collection or ask if they collect books for resale during a semi-annual book sale.
- Many local charities and thrift stores accept donated books.
- Add to a local Little Free Library.
- Donate through mail in donation programs such as many different prison book programs or international donation programs.
- Get crafty with a wide variety of projects using old books on Pinterest.
Check with your city about their book recycling policy. Many allow paperback books. Hardback books may not be accepted or they may ask you to remove the covers and stiff bindings. Tear out the pages and recycle them with magazines/newspapers. Thicker paper covers may be recycled with cardboard. Hardback covers and any bindings should be thrown away.
New carpet remnants may be accepted at some local charities, such as Habitat for Humanity Restore, but always call ahead.
Used items: Due to sanitary concerns, many charities may not accept used carpet/rugs. Contact your city about their bulk item policy or take those items directly to the Cedar Falls Transfer Station or the Black Hawk County Sanitary Landfill.
Unwanted strings of holiday lights are accepted during Commission-sponsored drop-off events.
Take them to a local scrap metal recycler.
Some home improvement stores also offer string light recycling during the holiday season.
Artificial trees: They are not recyclable. Throw them in with your regular trash collection or contact your city regarding bulk item pick up.
Thrift stores and consignment shops can take a large variety of items. Check their policies to find out what they will accept. Many locations are listed in the yellow pages of the phone book under “Thrift Stores” and also under “Consignment Service”.
Donate to reuse and recycling programs, such as
Single use pods for coffee, tea, cocoa, and cider are not recyclable, UNLESS the cups are marked with the recycling symbol (a recycling triangle with a number 1 through 7 listed inside) AND your city accepts them in their recycling program.
Single use pods for coffee, tea, cocoa, and cider are not recyclable, UNLESS the cups are marked with the recycling symbol (a recycling triangle with a number 1 through 7 listed inside). Keurig offers this information and suggests these steps prior to recycling.
Small quantity generators – Check whether your city accepts them through their city recycling program.
Look for community shred day events sponsored by Veridian Credit Union (Ansborough Avenue location) or contact a data destruction company, such as On-site Information Destruction.
Get creative a use them in a project from Pinterest.
- Although thrift stores and consignment shops can take a large variety of items, always call ahead to check their policies and if they will accept your item. Many locations are listed in the yellow pages of the phone book under “Thrift Stores” and also under “Consignment Service”.
- CD Recycling Center of America.
- Visit Earth911.com to search for mail-in programs.
- Throw away in your regular garbage.
Lions Club International and local chapters offer reuse opportunities for your old eyeglasses. Donate unneeded prescription and reading glasses, sunglasses and plastic and metal frames (especially children’s) by mail or in a local Lion’s Club collection box.
Contact the Waterloo Hazmat Center, a local fire protection company (listed in the yellow pages of the phone book under “Fire Extinguishers”) or a local scrap metal recycling business (listed in the yellow pages of the phone book under “Scrap Metal – Process & Recycle”) about their policies.
Many American Legions accept American, POW, and Iowan flags to ensure they are properly retired.
Contact your city about their flood debris policies.
Thrift stores and consignment shops can take a large variety of home items. Contact them about their policies to find out what they can and cannot take. Many locations are listed in the yellow pages of the phone book under “Thrift Stores” and also under “Consignment Service”.
Habitat for Humanity ReStore accepts a wide variety of building materials and home items from individuals, retailers and contractors. ReStore then sells those materials back to the general public at deeply discounted prices in their store or through their Ebay Store. The proceeds from this store are used to fund Habitat for Humanity projects in the Cedar Valley.
Residents are allowed to throw smaller amounts of solidified grease into their regular garbage.
Greeting cards (new and used holiday and other occasion cards)
- St. Jude’s Ranch for Children accepts old cards through their mail in program. They upcycle your old cards into new greeting cards, which are then sold to help support their programs and services.
- Feeling crafty yourself? Pinterest offers a never ending variety of projects to do with old cards.
- Follow these steps to recycle your old cards.
Weight is not a good indication of when the tank is low or empty because the difference between the weight of a full helium tank and an empty one is only a few grams.
- If you know the tank is empty:
- Contact your retailer to see if the tank can be returned to them.
- Contact a local scrap metal recycling business listed in the yellow pages of the phone book under “Scrap Metal – Process & Recycle” about their policies.
- If you know there is still gas left in the tank:
Contact the Code Enforcement or Sanitation department for your city or contact the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Field Services and Compliance Bureau.
Opt out of receiving unwanted solicitations at http://www.directmail.com/mail_preference/ .
Most charities no longer accept mattresses due to sanitary concerns. Contact your city about their bulk item policy or take those items directly to the Cedar Falls Transfer Station or the Black Hawk County Sanitary Landfill.
Most medical supply companies will accept the tank back. Check the label.
Easter Seals accepts donations of good quality durable medical equipment to support their program.
The Thermostat Recycling Corporation maintains a “search by zip code” database to find your nearest location.
Check with your city about their recycling policy.
Check with your city about their yard waste policy. Most do NOT allow sod and dirt in their yard waste carts or yard waste drop-off sites.
Contact a local lawn care service or contractor (listed in the yellow pages of the phone book under “Excavating Contractors”, “Landscape Contractors”, or “Lawn and Grounds”.)
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources advises people to contact the manufacturer for mail back instructions. Many manufacturers also list their address on back of the unit.
Visit Earth911.com to search for mail-in programs