Forward 2044

Waste & Recycling Planning for Linn County's Future

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 in 2038 due to factors including increased debris after disasters such as the 2020 derecho. To best serve the future of our region, the Solid Waste Agency is evaluating integrated solid waste management solutions. These solutions will be analyzed on several criteria, including timeline to plan, permit, construct and startup; associated infrastructure costs; proven commercial operation success; convenience and accessibility for citizens, customers, businesses and waste haulers; and ability to process projected waste stream volumes. 

Alternative technologies and best practices within the U.S. municipal solid waste industry will be considered when evaluating potential solutions. Recommended programs and facilities will pass through a progressive but realistic review by the agency and its board of directors. 
Once best practices, emerging technologies and public input have been considered, the recommended solutions will be presented to the board of directors, who has final authority on the decision. 

Considering the Options

This planning process is an opportunity to set our community up for a successful, sustainable, and safe future for our solid waste management needs. The Agency is considering several possibilities for beyond 2044 including multiple solutions for a variety of waste streams.

Alternative Technologies

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 the recycling program, which diverts many types of recyclable materials from the landfill. This approach would expand the amount and types of diverted materials beyond the many services and programs already offered at the Solid Waste Agency. Targeting specific waste streams that generate the most tonnage. Waste diversion requires items to be separated from the collection point, which means consumers play an important role in these programs. 

Waste-to-Energy

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. 

Landfilling

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. A new local landfill could be sited to serve the community. 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

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

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.