SCISWA must periodically send a plan update to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources that outlines programs within the four-county service area, gauges progress toward state goals, and identifies key needs for the next several years. The DNR approved our most recent plan in December; the approval runs through October 2020.

In the 1980s, the Iowa Legislature passed laws requiring cities, counties, and solid waste agencies to use programs like source reduction, recycling, and composting to decrease the amount of waste landfilled per-person, per-year. This is known as diversion. The laws’ diversion goals were to reduce landfilled waste by 25 percent by 1994 and by 50 percent by 2000. The changes were originally to be measured against a baseline quantity of waste landfilled per-person, per-year in 1988. Over the past 23 years, however, a complex method of measuring diversion has evolved that uses economic and employment factors as well as the quantity of waste landfilled to check progress toward the goal.

Although the two target years have passed, agencies continue to record and report progress toward the 25 percent and 50 percent diversion goals. The DNR calculates the SCISWA area as a whole at 18 percent diversion.