A Cedar Rapids suburb hopes to soon start converting garbage into fuel for city vehicles. Marion’s city manager Lon Pluckhahn says they’re contracting with Fiberight, a Maryland-based waste-to-energy firm, which has an Iowa plant opening about 30 miles away in Blairstown.

Pluckhahn says, “They’re a company that takes organic materials and cellulosic materials, which is things like paper waste, out of the waste stream and they can use it to manufacture ethanol.” Marion’s current curbside recycling program recovers only about 33-percent of what could be diverted from Linn County’s landfill, but he says that will quickly change.

“As soon as Fiberight opens and we start dropping off stuff there, we will go from 70 to 80-percent overnight.” Losing that waste, which is now going to the Linn County landfill, is concerning the county’s solid waste agency. It’s a revenue loss for what are called “tipping fees” at the landfill, which is coincidentally just outside Marion.