The market for compost is sufficiently marginal that the Cedar Rapids/Linn County Solid Waste Agency is giving the stuff away to residential customers.
Practically speaking, though, you probably need at least a pickup because the agency’s compost isn’t bagged.
Karmin McShane, the agency’s executive director, says getting the public to use the compost has an immediate benefit of having a public agency’s useful product being used. And down the road, that might help establish a better local market for compost, she adds.
“We have a product, let’s get it out there and get people using it,” McShane says.
In the past, the agency accepted material for composting for free and then bagged the compost and sold it. Now the agency charges $15 a ton for those dropping off organic material and, this spring, is giving the final product away to residential customers. It still sells the compost to commercial customers.
The agency will load the compost for those who stop by at the Site 1 landfill to pick it up.
The site, on A Street SW down river from Czech Village, is open 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
McShane notes that the agency has four pads on which it stores material as it ages into compost. One of the pads takes industrial waste and the three others take yard waste. Some industrial material is now turned away. Some of that, she says, is applied directly to farm ground at certain times of the year.
Much of the agency’s compost in the last couple years has been used to cap the Site 1 landfill, which closed for business in July 2006. The capping is now complete.
The agency’s compost operation is at the base of the closed landfill.