STAR4D Reopening Plan

Below you will find a comprehensive reopening plan for the IWRC's STAR4D program to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

STAR4D COVID-19 Reopening Plan

Educational Activities for Kids

We're trying to figure out activities for our kids while they are out of school too. We will be creating several new activities over the next few weeks, so please come back and check them out.

Here is a workbook we have created for younger children (Kindergarten - 2nd Grade) to help them understand food waste and how to prevent it.

K-2 Food Waste Activity Booklet

Why not have the kids help make sure your home is energy efficient during this time. We have created a quick checkllist so they can conduct an energy audit over the next couple of weeks.

Home Energy Efficiency Checklist

Composting at Home:

This handy guide will walk you through what it takes to start composting at home.

Residential Composting Toolkit 

Donating Food in Times of Crisis

The Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic, Food Recovery Network, ReFED and Feeding America have developed a fact sheet about donating excess food during the COVID-19 National Emergency. Click the link below to learn more about donting excess food in these times of crisis.

Donating Excess Food Fact Sheet

What is the IWRC doing?

  • First and foremost, we are putting the health and safety of our staff first by strongly encouraging everyone to work from home. We have also halted all staff travel as well as incoming travel. 
  • We have donated all of our extra supplies of PPE to local hospitals including; N95 masks, Tyvek coveralls and shoe covers.
  • We have created this webpage to provide resources to those that wish to use them in these times.
  • We have helpd our sister programs at the Institute for Decision Making and Strategic Marketing Services disseminate a survey to Iowa's businesses.


Click to open a summary of these changes.

We're Here for You

The entire team at the Iowa Waste Reduction Center as well as all of UNI’s Business and Community Services extends our thanks to fellow service providers for all you are doing to support business and community development efforts. To our Iowa communities, businesses, entrepreneurs, and organizations, please know we are here to help, whether through our existing programs or new services we are developing.

We are in uncharted territory and must collectively address the changing business, community and environmental needs across Iowa. Below are some of the links that you may find helpful. Reach out to any of our programs if we can assist. If we can’t help you, we will try to find someone who can.

Be safe, stay healthy and we will all get through this together.

Food Pantry Map

Are you an Iowan in need of food or looking for ways to help those in need? The map below will link you to the nearest food pantry locations.

HACAP HACAP River Bend Food Bank / St. Stephen's River Bend Food Bank / St. Stephen's Food Bank of Iowa Food Bank of Iowa River Bend Food Bank / St. Stephen's Northeast Iowa Food Bank Northeast Iowa Food Bank Food Bank for the Heartland Food Bank for the Heartland Siouxland Food Bank Siouxland Food Bank

Reducing Food Waste While Isolated at Home

We’d like to share some ideas with you about the food you are purchasing that will get you through a possible 14 day quarantine without wasting loads of money and food in the end.  Your choices can make a difference when shopping and while holed-up at home. You want to make as few trips to the grocery store as possible to minimize potential contact with sick individuals but yet you don’t want to toss most of the items you just bought because they went bad before you could use them.

  1. Fresh produce doesn’t last long and buying in bulk is not a great idea when it goes bad so quickly.  We suggest buying frozen or canned foods over fresh whenever you can so you won’t have to toss it and make another trip to the grocery store.  

  2. If you must buy fresh produce, cut it into servings immediately when you get home so the family can just grab them to eat right out of the fridge.  Also, store them properly to extend their freshness. If you don’t know the optimal storage conditions of some of your produce, check out this great website from the Engineering ToolBox.  You can also freeze items such as grapes, bread, tomatoes, and milk for later use.  Just get it to the freezer before it goes bad.

  3. Understand that many times expiration dates have nothing to do with food safety but rather refer to peak freshness.  If stored properly, many foods can be used several days past the “use-by” date.  

  4. Before you go shopping, inventory your food supplies and make a list so you don’t double-up on items you already have.  Also, get into the grocery store, stick to your list and get out ASAP! Eating a snack before you shop can also help keep you to your list.

  5. Plan out your meals and include using the leftovers.  Make a basic recipe that can be easily repurposed. For example, if you cook a pork roast for dinner, keep the recipe simple so you can turn it into tacos the next day, add barbeque sauce and top a pizza with it on day 2, or add it to soup on day 3.  One roast can easily turn into three separate meals, saving you money.

  6. Monitor what is being tossed so you either don’t purchase it again or purchase less next time.  Sometimes all it takes is a recipe change to make the foods more readily eaten.  

  7. Don’t toss fruit and vegetable trimmings but find a clever way to reuse them.  Many restaurants use potato peels and onion butts to flavor broth. Toss in some chicken bones and carrot peelings too.  Zest your citrus fruits and toss it into a glass of water for a refreshing drink or mix it into a dessert recipe. Did you know you can microwave citrus peels at 50% power for 5 minutes to dry them for potpourri?  You can also use banana peels to polish silver or remove scuffs from your shoes!

  8. Learn to compost!  Kids love composting and teaching yourself and them how can be really rewarding when using it later to feed your plants!  As a good general rule, add four parts of “browns” such as shredded cardboard, dried leaves, or twigs to one part of “greens” including food waste and/or grass clippings.  Add water to your pile and mix it all up. Don’t include meats, fats, oils, or dairy or you may have a very stinky problem and raccoons or opossums eating your compost pile.  For more information, check out this video called Food Waste Composting at Home.

  9. Last but definitely not least, donate foods you aren’t going to use.  There are many people who are struggling to feed their families and can use all the help they can get.  Hop on your local food bank’s website and find out where the nearest soup kitchen or food pantry is located and give them a call to see if they’ll accept some of the food you don’t need.  Just make certain to keep prepared foods you’ve already served to yourselves!