The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Iowa City receives $4 million grant to help expand composting efforts

The money will help fund an expansion of the city’s composting facilities and create more compost drop-off areas for community members.
Shaely Odean
Heavy duty machinery being operated on landfill piles at the Iowa City Landfill and Recycling Center on Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023. (Shaely Odean/ The Daily Iowan)

Iowa City’s composting facility is expanding to address the needs of Iowa City’s growing population.

The facility will receive an upgrade in spring 2025 after the city was awarded a $4 million federal grant.

According to a release from the city, the grant came from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and will be used to increase the processing capacity of the composting facility as well as make the facility more accessible.

The Iowa City Landfill and Recycling Center spans a total of 425 acres, and 5 acres make up the current composting facility, said Jennifer Jordan, the city’s resource management superintendent.

The grant will help fund the expansion of the composting facility from five to seven acres, Jordan said, which means the facility will go from being able to process around 15,000 tons of waste a year to 20,000 tons.

City Manager Geoff Fruin said the additional waste will help the city account for the needs of Iowa City’s growing population.

“These funds will enable us to expand and modernize our existing compost facility to better meet the future needs of our growing community,” Fruin stated in the release. “This grant award clearly demonstrates our shared commitment with the federal government toward waste reduction and climate action in ways that add value to the public.”

Jordan said the ability to divert more food waste from the landfill into the composting facility helps address the city’s climate action goals because composting food means it won’t decompose in the open air and release harmful carbon emissions.

According to the release, the grant money is a part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law passed by President Joe Biden in 2021. This law allocated $550 billion nationwide to help invest in essential infrastructure, including roads, bridges, and carbon emission reduction efforts.

Meg McCollister, the EPA administrator for the region, said in the city’s press release that this funding, which came from a law passed by President Joe Biden, will end up helping the entire Midwest region become more sustainable and clean.

“These funds will also ensure that our overburdened communities get the resources needed for a cleaner and healthier environment for all,” McCollister said in the release.

Iowa City will also use the grant money to create more composting drop-off locations throughout the community, Jordan said.

The city currently offers a curbside composting pick-up program for households that are single-family up to four-plex apartments, which makes up about 16,500 total households, Jordan said.

This program does not serve around 17,000 households because they do not fit the criteria of the program, she said.

Some apartment complexes that are larger than a four-plex do have pick-up services, but that is only at the discretion and payment of the landlord, Jordan said, and this grant would create several composting drop-off stations in underserved, high-density communities to make composting easier and more accessible.

Jordan said construction for these projects is expected to begin in spring 2025.

This grant is one of the biggest the city’s composting and recycling departments have ever received, Jordan said.

“The city is very proud of this, and we’re going to work really hard to put it to good use,” she said.

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About the Contributors
Isabelle Foland
Isabelle Foland, News Editor
Isabelle Foland is a second-year student at the University of Iowa majoring in Journalism and Mass Communication and minoring in Spanish. She is a second-year news reporter at The Daily Iowan, reporting mainly on Iowa City City Council. She is from Missouri Valley, Iowa and has reported for her hometown paper prior to her time at The DI.
Shaely Odean
Shaely Odean, Photojournalist
Shaely Odean is a transfer student at the University of Iowa, currently in her third year. She is pursuing double majors in Journalism and Strategic Communications, as well as Sustainability Sciences. Shaely works as a photojournalist for The Daily Iowan, and her passion lies in environmental issues. Before joining the University of Iowa, she attended Kirkwood Community College, where she served as the photo editor for the Kirkwood Communique.