The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) is in the process of modernizing Iowa’s integrated solid waste management system to that of sustainable materials management. Iowa’s DNR work is currently structured in the context of waste management (discards) within a hierarchy of preferences and a goal of decreasing tons landfilled. Increased awareness of the environmental impacts and the limitations of the traditional waste management approach is triggering a global shift from waste management to materials management. Sustainable materials management action is focused on the environmental impact of materials from raw material extraction to product manufacture, transportation, use, reduction, reuse, recycling and disposal. Viewing solid waste in a sustainable materials management perspective recognizes natural resource and energy requirements in creating new products by considering the full life cycle of materials, whereas a waste management approach is based on end-of-life management of discards.
The Iowa DNR contracted with Future iQ, in partnership with the engineering firm of Burns & McDonnell, to undertake a statewide planning process to create a vision to guide Iowa solid waste management policy using sustainable materials management (SMM) as its foundation. The process was initiated with the gathering of input from a broad set of stakeholders through a dynamic planning process that included a series of IDNR and stakeholder meetings, research and outreach that led to the creation of an IDNR Sustainable Materials Management – Vision for Iowa that may be used as a statewide guide for future SMM related action.
Future iQ and Burns & McDonnell were contracted to develop a state-wide vision that will guide the Iowa DNR from a solid waste management to a sustainable materials management perspective. This process will include: