About the IWRC

Our Mission

To enhance business and organizational efficiency through quality and innovative environmental programming across Iowa and throughout the country.



Thirteen Staff

providing quality, dedicated assistance

two hundred years

combined experience

6,000 plus Iowa Businesses

received direct assistance

5,000 plus active duty and contract painters

STAR4D trained and certified


Our Story

Groundwater is one of Iowa’s most important and precious natural resources. In 1987, the Iowa legislature passed the Groundwater Protection Act which emphasized a “non-regulatory approach that stressed education, demonstration and technical assistance.” In 1988, the Iowa Waste Reduction Center (IWRC) at the University of Northern Iowa began as a one-person program and has since matured into a full-service small business environmental assistance program. Since our inception, we've championed innovative approaches and forged new pathways by combining resources and ideas to address the environmental concerns of small businesses and to deliver tailored solutions that resonate with the unique needs of each client.

Our mission intersects with the realm of small businesses, recognizing the pivotal role they play in environmental stewardship. Through education, outreach, and one-on-one consultations, we empower small businesses with the knowledge and tools necessary to navigate the complex landscape of environmental regulations, explore waste minimization strategies and enhance overall operational efficiency. It's important to note that while we offer guidance and support, we are not a regulatory enforcement body.

As a recognized leader in small business waste reduction and compliance, we take pride in our track record of being at the forefront of providing solutions and guidance from emerging environmental issues to established regulatory frameworks. We also are dedicated to nurturing the next generation of environmental leaders, providing college students with valuable work and educational experiences within our organization.

Funded by a combination of state, federal, and private sources, including solid waste fees, we maintain a balanced resource pool to support our mission. While our primary goal is waste reduction and regulatory compliance, we also prioritize efficiency and sustainability in all aspects of our work.

At the IWRC, we're more than just a program – we're a state-driven initiative committed to fostering environmental stewardship and economic vitality among Iowa's small businesses, all while protecting Iowa’s most important natural resource. 

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