116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
The tipping fee — the costs for bringing garbage to the local landfill — will increase from $42 a ton to $45 a ton on July 1, 2023, the Cedar Rapids Linn County Solid Waste Agency board of directors decided Tuesday.
This will translate to slight increases in flat fees for customers who drop off trash to the landfill themselves, along with increased rates for disposing special wastes. It could also prompt marginally higher costs for Linn County residents who use curbside pick-up services, depending on the municipality.
Tipping fees will likely continue to incrementally rise as the Solid Waste Agency’s landfill in Marion creeps closer to capacity, said agency communications director Joe Horaney. The landfill is scheduled to close by 2044, prompting a search for alternate waste management options.
“The agency board of directors has discussed gradual increases more often to help customers prepare for an alternative technology, including transfer, so there is not a dramatic change when the landfill closes,” he said.
“We want to start saying that now so there's no surprises,” said agency executive director Karmin McShane.
• Standard landfill: $45/ton (increase of $3/ton), minimum $22
• Flat rate for cars: $12/vehicle (increase of $2/per load)
• Flat rate for SUVs and minivans: $15/vehicle (new category)
• Flat rate for pickup trucks and full-sized vans: $22/vehicle (increase of $2/per load)
• Special wastes: various rates depending on the material (increase of $3/ton), minimum 1 ton
• Yard and wood waste: $28 per ton (increase of $2/ton), minimum $10
• Commercial finished compost: $28 per ton (increase of $2/ton)
• Commercial Recycling: $90/ton (increase of $5/ton)
Landfills are typically the cheapest ways to manage waste, Horaney said. But, since a new landfill in Linn County is now off the table, the Solid Waste Agency must pursue alternate waste management options that come at higher costs.
The remaining scenarios feature combinations of out-of-county landfills and alternative technologies, like anaerobic digestion, combustion and mechanical sorting.
“A lot of these (options) sound amazing,” Horaney said. “But there is a significantly higher cost compared to what we've been doing with the landfilling for so long.”
Historically, the tipping fee started at $35 per ton in 1994, when the Solid Waste Agency formed. It rose to $38 per ton on July 1, 2010, and then to $40 per ton on July 1, 2017.
Most recently, the tipping fee was raised to $42 per ton this July 1.
Using municipalities’ curbside services is normally more cost-effective for residents, Horaney said. If a resident has too much trash to fit in their allotted cart, they can purchase stickers for any extra bags they set out for pick-up.
“That's why we always encourage folks … to use your curbside services,” Horaney said. “Unless you have at least 10 bags of garbage, it doesn't make sense to drive all the way out here because you're burning fuel.”
Some Linn County residents may see a slight increase in their curbside pick-up rates, depending on where they live.
Dave Stone is the owner of Wapsi Waste Services — an Anamosa-based waste disposal company serving Jones and Linn counties. He said he suspects the rates for the Linn County areas he services may increase come July, although he’s not sure at this point.
“I’ve got to see what the future brings first,” he said. “It depends on what the fuel (price) does, too.”
The City of Cedar Rapids, on the other hand, is not planning to increase monthly fees for residents, said utilities director Roy Hesemann in an email. Curbside pick-up rates will actually be reduced by 1 percent due to operational efficiencies.
Brittney J. Miller is the Energy & Environment Reporter for The Gazette and a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues.
Comments: (319) 398-8370; email@example.com