In 2020, IPI received a Solid Waste Alternative Program (SWAP) grant from the DNR for $9,770 to purchase and install a baler for cardboard at IPI Rockwell City.
One of IPI’s work programs located at the North Central Correctional Facility in Rockwell City generates copious amounts of corrugated waste which was previously landfilled. A typical month resulted in six to ten dumpster loads transported to the landfill in Fort Dodge, Iowa, with a net weight of 11,160 pounds of corrugated material.
Even with reduced operations due to COVID-19, IPI Rockwell City was able to divert 82,040 pounds of corrugated waste from the landfill in the first six months of operating the vertical baler. The new baler produces 1,000 to 1,200 pound bales, which are stored on-site and then sold to recyclers in full load quantities.
In addition to the reduction in landfill usage, the new system is reducing truck traffic by more than 100 loads per year, leading to significant reductions in fuel usage, road wear, airborne particulates, risk of accident, congestion, and noise pollution. Reducing the number of trucks going into and out of the prison also increases operational efficiencies at the institution and reduces security risks.
The baler has also provided training opportunities for the men participating in IPI’s program at Rockwell City. The men have had the opportunity to learn about the importance of environmental stewardship and participate in waste reduction. Additionally, the men have produced standard work for operation of the baler, organized the workplace around the baler using 5S methodology, and identified necessary preventative maintenance. All of these tasks will ensure safe and efficient operation of the baler.
The Solid Waste Alternatives Program (SWAP) works to reduce the amount of solid waste generated and landfilled in Iowa. For more information on the SWAP program, please visit https://www.iowadnr.gov/swap. Any unit of local government, public or private group, or individual is eligible to apply for program funds.