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Forward 2044

Waste & Recycling Planning for Linn County's Future

Forward 2044

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Planning for the Future

The Cedar Rapids Linn County Solid Waste Agency was created in 1994 via a 28E agreement between the City of Cedar Rapids and Linn County with a charge to provide Linn County with integrated solid waste management options. The Agency's original charge will end on June 30, 2044. This is the last day garbage can be accepted at 1954 County Home Road, Marion, where the landfill and Resource Recovery building are located.

Just because the landfill will close does not mean garbage will stop. The Solid Waste Agency takes in more than 600 tons of garbage daily. Linn County's waste will still need to be handled. In fact, the landfill on County Home Road is projected to be full before 2044 due to factors including increased debris after disasters such as the 2020 derecho. The Solid Waste Agency is currently undertaking the Forward 2044 study. This effort, led by the agency’s board of directors, will ultimately decide the future of solid waste management in our community. 

The Agency is governed by a nine-member board of directors who lead the Agency’s Forward 2044 efforts. The board evaluated eight potential scenarios that could be used to manage the community’s waste in the future. These scenarios included a variety of tools, technologies and potential partnerships. After many board meetings, presentations to stakeholders, and a public meeting, the board decided on important criteria that they are using to guide their decision-making process. Most importantly, they are determined to ensure the health, safety and welfare of Linn County through cost-effective, environmentally sound practices for the management of solid waste generated in the county.

Considering the Options

This planning process is an opportunity for our community to establish a successful, sustainable, and safe future for our solid waste management needs. The Agency originally considered eight scenarios for beyond 2044. Those have been narrowed down through the selection process, using factors such as proven work history, cost, and environmental sustainability.

The board of directors has decided not to pursue siting a new landfill in Linn County. A variety of factors went into this decision, including a lack of available land due to zoning restrictions. That’s not to say a landfill won’t be part of the future waste management solution the board ultimately selects. There could be a new regional landfill developed in tandem with public or private partners – it just wouldn’t be located in Linn County. 

The board is still considering scenarios that could include transfer stations or alternative technologies, such as waste to energy and anaerobic digestion.  

Learn more about the types of technologies and programs that could be part of the Solid Waste Agency’s future waste management scenario:

Expanded Waste Diversion

Waste diversion continues to be the top priority, reducing at the source. Diversion programs aim to reduce the amount of solid waste going into a landfill or disposal site. Currently, our community has diversion programs, such as recycling, household hazardous waste, composting, and more. This type of approach would expand the amount and types of diverted materials beyond the many services and programs already offered at the Solid Waste Agency. Waste diversion requires items to be separated from the collection point, which means consumers play an important role in these programs.


These programs convert some solid waste into energy through various methods. Burning waste, also called combustion, converts water into steam which turns a turbine to generate electricity. There are many other forms of waste to energy programs, including the use of bacteria to break down organic matter (anaerobic digestion), aerobic composting and mechanical biological treatment. 


In the Midwest, landfilling is largely found to be an economically favorable waste management practice. At some level, landfilling will continue to play a role in the holistic waste management process. Alternative technologies can drastically reduce the amount of waste materials needed to be landfilled. However, residues and by-products of alternative waste technologies must still be managed. Landfilling can be accomplished via local or regional means. The Board has decided not to site a new landfill within Linn County. A new landfill could be sited with public or private partners to serve many communities, but it would be located elsewhere. This process follows various federal, state, and local procedures and policies. Many different factors are considered when determining where to site a new landfill, including cost, location and environmental impact.

Waste Transfer Stations

Waste transfer stations are a point between a community’s solid waste collection program and a final solid waste disposal facility. After solid waste is collected from residences and/or businesses, it is taken to a transfer station, where the waste is compressed and grouped together for economical transport to a final facility elsewhere. 


Other Resources & Frequently Asked Questions

Links to presentations about Forward 2044 are posted here:  

Summary of Waste Volumes and Projections

- Summary of successful management practices that may be replicated to aid in solid waste diversion and long-term financial sustainability

Goals & Objectives with Infrastructure Options Analysis Criteria

- Infrastructure Options:  Refinement of Options for Detailed Analysis

- Forward 2044 Community Presentation

- Forward 2044 Community Presentation Video

Long-Term Waste Management System Evaluation Report (Forward 2044)

- Forward 2044 Phase 1 Overview & Update

- Solid Waste Agency Waste Characterization 2022 Summary

Board Meetings - Presentations

- 4/20/2021

- 5/18/2021

- 6/15/2021; 28E Review & Agency Role

- 8/17/2021 Forward 2044 Goals, Objectives, and Guiding Criteria

- 12/21/2021 Infrastructure Analysis & Cost(Scenarios 1 through 5)

- 1/18/2022 Infrastructure Analysis - Stakeholder Meeting Findings

- 3/15/2022 Infrastructure Analysis and Costing Update: Sustainable Return on Investment

- 5/17/2022 Preliminary Location Assessment

- 7/19/2022 Forward 2044 Board Workshop Goals

- 1/17/2023 Forward 2044 WASTECON Site Visits Recap

- 3/21/2023 Forward 2044 Board Workshop

- 3/21/2023 Forward 2044 Executive Summary of TM 2022 Food Waste Digester Feasibility Study

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about Forward 2044

Questions & Comments

Have questions about Forward 2044? Comments? Let us know what you think. Send an email via our Contact Us page.

Forward 2044