This week, the Iowa Waste Reduction Center will celebrate its 30th year anniversary. Created by the 1987 Groundwater Protection Act, the doors officially opened in January 1988 and over the last 30 years, we have continued to meet our core mission of providing environmental consulting, assistance, training, and education for entities with environmental impacts or needs to small businesses throughout all 99 Iowa counties.
And the IWRC continues to invest in its longstanding programs – from providing On-Site Reviews; to the Iowa Air Emissions Assistance Program, with funding provided by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources; supporting the great services provided by the Iowa Waste Exchange program; and continuing the applied research and training efforts of our military and industrial painting programs which has been going on for 20 years, which also includes continual technology development for virtual reality painter training.
The framework provided by those core initiatives has allowed the IWRC to take advantage of other funding opportunities that have led to expanding our services while still focused on the core mission. Staff continues to place an emphasis on food waste reduction and in 2017, we were awarded our fifth consecutive United States Department of Agriculture grant which began in October 2017 and will provide rural K-12 Iowa schools with food waste prevention and reduction assistance. Additionally, we held the first ever Midwest Food Recovery Summit in September 2017. The two-and-a-half day event took place in Des Moines and because of the impressive impact and requests, we are already in full swing of planning the 2018 follow-up event which will be held September 11-13, 2018 in Des Moines.
The continual evolving of IWRC’s services is most present in the development of the Iowa Green Brewery Certification Program which enters its second year in 2018. We took our traditional assistance, enhanced it to provide more hands-on guidance within a specific industry, Iowa craft breweries, and set up benchmark sustainability and environmental efforts in order to provide levels of certification. The program currently has five Iowa craft breweries certified and I was thrilled that it received the Commitment to Iowa Award last year from the Iowa Recycling Association.
So many of the IWRC staff have worked tirelessly to get us to where we are today – a resource for businesses, experts in our fields, and nationally-recognized throughout multiple industries. For the upcoming year, I look forward to working with the IWRC staff to continue to diversify the IWRC’s funding sources, develop new projects ideas, and continue the IWRC’s forward momentum.
Iowa Waste Reduction Center