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Marion Approves Plan for Garbage to Gas Plant

MARION (CBS 2/ FOX 28)--When it comes to garbage, the city of Marion has a simple philosophy--waste not, want not.
"Our objective is zero waste," Ryan Miller, public services director.    
So they're trying to cut back on the amount of solid waste that goes into landfills by approving a plan to turn that garbage into ethanol.
"You're solid waste or what you put at the curb to be collected by the city, now is being turned into a clean burning biofuel," Miller said.
This week, the city approved a plan to build a $20 million dollar waste-to-energy plant.
The plant would steam and sterilize recycled garbage and turn it into energy.
Miller says once the plant is built the citys recycling rate will jump to more than 70 percent and make it cheaper for Marion residents when they drop off loads.
"A 28 percent, 30 percent recycling rate will go to 70, 80 percent overnight, he said.
But an increase in Marion's recycling will mean a drop in recycling for the Cedar Rapids/ Linn County Solid Waste Agency.
"If Marion builds there proposed ethanol facility, there would be an impact, said Joe Horaney, spokesman for the agency.
Horaney says losing Marion's trash, would mean losing money from recycling fees.
And losing funding could mean, losing free services like curb side recycling.
"Right now they can do it for no charge, but there are some programs and service that we might have to start charging for in the future or they may go away," Horaney said.
Construction on the new plant is expected to begin at the end of the year.
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