Turn trash into fuel? That's the goal for the City of Marion - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Turn trash into fuel? That's the goal for the City of Marion

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MARION (KWWL) - It's called Trashahol. It's fermented, but not served in a cold mug. Trashahol is what waste-to-biofuels company Fiberight calls its product, and it plans to build a facility in Marion this summer.

The City of Marion is looking to become a zero waste community. It's created a deal with Fiberight in which the company will build a Materials Resource Recovery Facility to turn the city's trash into fuel. The company claims it can keep 80 percent of a community's trash out of landfills with its process.

Marion's Public Service Director, Ryan Miller, said the city will finance the project through tax increment financing, and plans to not exceed a $850,000 budget.

Miller calls the Fiberight technology fairly simple, and basically a two-step process. Trash becomes cellulose, and is then turned into ethanol. The company wants organic trash, like paper garbage, for example; as that's from which the cellulose can be extracted for fuel.

The city changed its ordinances a few years ago to redefine solid waste as a commodity, or feedstock. Miller said with this technology, trash is no longer trash.

"This has a huge impact for the community. Not only for the community, but for the state. To bring a technology here and to successfully demonstrate that we can actually make something out of solid waste," Miller said.

The city encourages its residents to continue recycling once the facility is complete. Officials remind people that recycling is free, while garbage pick-up still costs money.

According to Fiberight, the Marion recovery facility should be running by the last quarter of this year.
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