Changing our environmental impact
Our mission includes recycling—a given since the Agency was created in 1994. But, now, we recognize that our other efforts to protect land, air & water should also be acknowledged – and promoted!
In 2009, through a voluntary program with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), the Cedar Rapids/Linn County Solid Waste Agency adopted an Environmental Management System (EMS), an organized and proactive approach to managing issues on our sites that affect land, air & water. The IDNR officially designates the Agency as EMS Certified.
EMS goals are simple: Reduce activities on our sites that have negative environmental impacts, and increase activities with positive environmental impacts. EMS moves solid waste organizations beyond measuring landfill diversion to a broader focus on resource management.
Six primary focus areas are denoted by Iowa law as part of an EMS, by which participating agencies are expected to demonstrate compliance and a commitment to continuous improvement:
Asphalt shingles are the most recent addition to the Agency’s recycling drop-off services.
- Yard waste management
- Hazardous material management
- Water quality improvement
- Greenhouse gas reduction
- Recycling services
- Environmental education
Many objectives have been achieved as part of the Agency's annual EMS plans, including employee energy training and energy-efficient upgrades; conversion of landfill gas to electricity; a food waste diversion pilot program at our compost facility; and the opening of the Resource Recovery building at our County Home Road site. Among the services that are housed in the new facility: recyclables drop off; hazardous material collection; and our Free Paint, Cleaners, Etc. shop.
Establishing an EMS also includes preparation of an annual report, detailing the Agency's objectives and the progress made in achieving those objectives. Click HERE for the 2014 EMS Executive Summary. Click HERE for the Agency's 2010-2012 as well as the 2013 EMS Executive Summary.
Since 2011, a stream that enters the Agency’s County Home road site from the east and exits on the west has been monitored for water quality. The annual tests show that water leaving the site is cleaner than when it entered. The stream flows through Agency established wetlands on the site before entering Indian Creek.
Click HERE for additional EMS information from the Iowa DNR.