To understand how food waste was being handled in Iowa, the Iowa Waste Reduction Center met with many businesses and organizations throughout Iowa. These entities are focusing on food waste through many methods - including reduction programs and repurposing. Repurposing through creating compost, biodigestion, and even getting food that is still edible to the hungry. Covering many recovery options, these case studies can serve as a great basis of what can work and how to achieve results.

You can also view videos of some of the case studies listed below > Food Waste Case Studies Playlist.

Postville, IA

The City of Postville, Iowa is just one of four communities selected to participate in the Food Waste Reduction Assistance project for Iowa Rural Communities.

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Greene County Medical Center, Jefferson, IA

The cafeteria at the Greene County Medical Center is open seven days a week and serves 350-400 meals per day to patients, the community and employees, as well as 1-12 meals per day to the local jail. 

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Poweshiek County Jail, Montezuma, IA

Correctional facilities across the country are taking the initiative to reduce the amount of food wasted on a daily basis. It's not only better for the environment, but it results in lowering disposal costs.

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Central Community School District, Elkader, IA

One of the Central Community School's activities is the Central Green Team, a group of students working to make a difference in the environment we live in. In the spring of 2015, the club started a compost pile under the direction of science teacher, Ann Gritzner. Students collected both kitchen scraps, napkins, and food waste coming from student's trays and began a small composting operation behind the school.

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Bluebird Diner, Iowa City, IA

Jon Wilson and Thomas Connolly opened Bluebird Diner in the Northside Marketplace district of Iowa City in October 2008. Bluebird boasts delicious homemade food with a bright and cheery modern style atmosphere. It provides customers with a unique experience in the restaurant’s conscientious decision to implement food waste diversion and responsible dining. Whenever possible, food waste from Bluebird enters a compost pile, not a landfill.

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UnityPoint Health, Des Moines, IA

Beginning in 2008, Iowa Health Systems spent a year tracking kitchen food waste at three hospitals in an effort to reduce the amount going to landfills.  The staff was trained to weigh and record information pertaining to discarded food such as the type of food and the reason for disposal.  Food waste was discarded in clear buckets and bags to allow for a visual inspection of the amount and types of food waste entering Iowa landfills. 

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Grinnell College, Grinnell, IA

In Iowa, Grinnell College was in the planning stage to build a brand new facility to serve as a central gathering place, campus offices, and dining halls and kitchens. To accommodate the college’s sustainable ideology, Grinnell was able to plan their dining facilities and kitchens to include food waste reduction and diversion operations.

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Iowa City Landfill & Recycling Center, Iowa City, IA

In 1989, yard waste was banned from Iowa landfills via the Iowa Waste Reduction and Recycling Act. This required landfills to find an alternative way to handle yard waste and consequently most Iowa landfills have since had a commercial-scale yard waste composting facility, including Iowa City.

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The Hotel at Kirkwood Center, Cedar Rapids, IA

The Hotel at Kirkwood Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa offers everything a traveler desires.  From its stylish, Euro-chic features to an extensive, completely original collection of local art – every detail, floor to ceiling, was hand-chosen to create an amazing atmosphere for guests to enjoy.  But what guests may not realize is that this upscale hotel is composting its food waste and keeping it out of the landfill.

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Regina Catholic Education Center, Iowa City, IA

Beginning in 2011, Regina Catholic Education Center in Iowa City began recycling and composting programs in their school. With big help from students and staff, the program has been a success. As reported in the Catholic Messenger, parent Missy Aitchison states, “Regina has been sending about 97 gallons of organic waste per day to the recycling center for composting”.

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LinkEnergy, LLC, Riceville, IA

Trent Linkenmeyer is the owner and operator of Link Energy in Riceville, Iowa.  Link Energy is a family owned and operated farm that recently added a state-of-the-art biodigester.  Their reasons for adding this 2,000,000 gallon giant are numerous. 

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Food Bank of Siouxland Inc., Sioux City, IA

Situated on the western edge of Iowa, the Food Bank of Siouxland is able to serve 11 counties in two states – Iowa and Nebraska. More than 100 agencies, such as food pantries, soup kitchens, emergency relief centers, shelters, and daycares, get their food from the food bank. This organization definitely plays a role in reducing the amount of food making it to Iowa landfills.

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