Model City ProfileModel City Profile

Marion, Iowa
Population: 32,000
Bottle Bill: Yes
Collection Method: Municipal employees
Funding: User fee
Truck Type: Manual, side loading, split, dual compaction
Container Type: 18 gallon bin
Materials Processing Facility: Single stream processing
Marion, Iowa

The City of Marion, Iowa added curbside recycling to their curbside refuse service in 1999 after the Public Service Department challenged solid waste program employees to determine how Marion could add recycling at little or no additional cost. A privately owned and operated, single stream Materials Recovery Facility (MRF), owned by City Carton and located in nearby Cedar Rapids, was available to process the material.

To meet the challenge, Marion’s refuse collection department employees suggested a change in the collection fleet from the current side loading, single compartment refuse trucks to a dual compartment truck so that refuse and recycling could be co-collected.

An evaluation of Marion’s program carried out in 2002 found participation rates at 88% and recovery rates (the percentage of recyclable material that is collected as recycling) ranging from 75 – 80 %. In 2008, Marion households set out over 10,200 tons of curbside recyclables or roughly 415 pounds per household served for a 30 percent recycling rate (this excludes glass as well as leaf and yard waste).

Because of a policy at the City Carton’s MRF, glass is collected separately at the City drop-off. In addition to glass jars and bottles, the drop-off also accepts plastics (1-7), cans, magazines, newspapers, cardboard, chipboard, white paper and junk mail.

Curbside service is limited to 1 to 4 family households. Large apartment dwellings, condominiums and other private roads are excluded from the City refuse service however approximately 85% of households are served by the program.