Reducing the volume of solid waste materials entering the waste stream is an issue that has posed major problems for landfill operators in Iowa for more than ten years. In 1989, the Iowa State Legislature signed into law the Waste Reduction and Recycling Act (WRRA). The WRRA primarily established waste reduction goals intended to dramatically reduce the amount of waste deposited in Iowa’s landfills. Those goals included a 25 percent reduction in the total waste stream by July 1, 1994, and a 50 percent reduction in the waste stream by July 1, 2000 from the base levels set in 1988. In January of 1994, the City of Cedar Rapids and Linn County signed a 28E (joint powers) agreement creating Bluestem Solid Waste Agency (known locally as “Bluestem”), a regional solid waste management agency. The Agency is governed by a Board of Directors consisting of nine elected or appointed individuals. Bluestem Solid Waste Agency has a strong tradition of providing community education in solid waste reduction and recycling. Bluestem has expressed the desire to meet go beyond the Act’s ultimate goal of a 50 percent reduction in the solid waste stream, or to achieve “hyperwaste minimization.” Hyperwaste minimization is defined as achieving solid waste stream reduction beyond the reduction goals set forth by the Act. Because of the difficulties involved in reducing its waste stream, the Bluestem Solid Waste Agency has approached us to conduct research investigating targeted laws, policies, and other impediments that inhibit reduction of the solid waste stream as well as model practices in solid waste reduction. Several areas were identified by Bluestem as critical to the research, including federal, state, and local legislation and policies. This report is the product of that review and investigation.
Cedar Rapids/Linn County
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