EPA announces over $4.5M in Iowa recycling infrastructure projects through Investing in America Agenda  

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced over $4.5 million from President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda to expand recycling infrastructure and waste management systems across Iowa.

EPA has selected Iowa City to receive grants totaling over $4 million under the newly created Solid Waste Infrastructure for Recycling funding opportunity. In addition, the agency is making available approximately $500,000 for Iowa to improve solid waste management planning, data collection, and implementation of plans. Thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, this investment, totaling $105 million nationwide, is a part of EPA’s largest recycling investment in 30 years.

These grants support the implementation of EPA’s National Recycling Strategy to build an economy devoted to keeping materials, products, and services in circulation for as long as possible – what’s known as a “circular economy.”

“Reducing waste is one very important step we can take to fight the climate crisis and ensure environmental justice in our Heartland communities,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Meg McCollister. “Thanks to President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, this funding will help our region’s states reduce gases like methane by diverting waste from landfills. These funds will also ensure that our overburdened communities get the resources needed for a cleaner and healthier environment for all.”

“The City of Iowa City is honored to receive this significant infrastructure award from the Investing in America program,” said City Manager Geoff Fruin. “These funds will enable us to expand and modernize our existing compost facility to better meet the future needs of our growing community. This grant award clearly demonstrates our shared commitment with the federal government toward waste reduction and climate action in ways that clearly add value to the public.”

President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda is growing the American economy from the bottom up and middle -out – from rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure to driving over $470 billion in private-sector manufacturing and clean energy investments in the United States to creating a manufacturing and innovation boom powered by good-paying jobs that don’t require a four-year degree, to building a clean energy economy that will combat climate change and make our communities more resilient.

EPA’s Solid Waste Infrastructure for Recycling Grant Program is also advancing President’s Justice40 Initiative, which aims to ensure that 40% of the overall benefits of certain federal investments flow to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized, underserved, and overburdened by pollution. Approximately $56 million out of the $73 million (or 76%) of the total funding for communities will go toward projects that benefit disadvantaged communities.

Solid Waste Infrastructure for Recycling Grants for Communities

The recycling grants for communities will support improvements to waste management systems across the country. Iowa City will use funds to expand its existing compost facility by building on current programs and increasing processing capacity from 15,000 to 20,000 tons per year. This expansion will increase landfill diversion, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and allow more residents within the service area to use composting services. Customers include Johnson County and the towns of Kalona and Riverside in Iowa.

Solid Waste Infrastructure for Recycling Grants for States and Territories

The recycling grants for states and territories will provide funding to all 56 states, territories, and the District of Columbia via grants ranging from $360,000 to $750,000, with the highest grant amounts supporting those states and territories that need it the most.

Iowa will use funds to develop a statewide food waste minimization and management study, as part of a broader objective to minimize upstream food loss and increase diversion of food waste from landfills. Iowa will also determine and analyze the life-cycle impacts of select materials and processes, developing an approach to use and reuse materials more productively. In addition, the state will focus on improving recycling efforts for deposit-eligible, single-use beverage containers, based on an assessment of Iowa’s recovery, redemption, and recycling rates for deposit-eligible beverage containers and their associated economic and environmental impacts.

These grants represent important steps toward achieving the EPA’s National Recycling Goal and Food Loss and Waste Reduction Goal. Funded activities include improving post-consumer materials management programs through developing or updating solid waste management plans and strengthening data collection efforts.

Additional Background

Today’s announcement for states, territories, and communities is the first round of funding from this new grant program. In the coming months, EPA will announce the selected recipients of the recycling grants for tribes and intertribal consortia, as well as the recipients of EPA’s new Recycling Education and Outreach Grant Program.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides a total of $275 million from fiscal year 2022 to fiscal year 2026 for grants authorized under the Save Our Seas 2.0 Act – the largest investment in recycling in 30 years. The recycling grants are supplemented with additional funding provided through EPA’s annual appropriations. EPA has selected these entities to receive funding for recycling infrastructure projects and anticipates making all the awards announced today once all legal and administrative requirements are satisfied.

For details about the Solid Waste Infrastructure for Recycling Grant Program selectees and other Bipartisan Infrastructure Law-related funding opportunities, visit the EPA Recycling Grants page.

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