Recycling & Reuse

Technology Transfer Center partnership with Iowa and the Future

Environmental challenges of the 1990s and beyond need to be met with innovative, well researched solutions. Decreasing availability of affordable landfilling, environmental contamination resulting form waste disposal, and future resource scarcity are some of the difficult solid waste issues that affect both the public and private industrial sectors. In addition, future educators and scientists need to be exposed to quality research leading to sound solutions for these environmental problems.

In 1992, the Iowa Legislature addressed the solid waste problem by establishing on-going funding for research on environmental technologies. The Recycling & Reuse Technology Transfer Center (RRTTC) was located within the College of natural Sciences at the University of Northern Iowa, where it could coordinate efforts with the Iowa Waste Reduction Center.

The RRTTC awards funding to established researchers in a wide variety of academic fields to conduct applied research and educate students in the area of solid waste. The RRTTCs research and educational mission includes:

* Performing basic research on solid waste issues affecting Iowa's citizenry and industrial sectors.
* Transferring technology developed through this research to both the industrial and municipal sectors.
* Working with Iowa's business and industry to provide economical solutions to intractable solid waste problems requiring applied research; and
* Providing graduate and undergraduate students in a variety of disciplines with valuable educational and research experience.

Solid wastes originate from a wide variety of natural resource areas metals, polymers, and wood and they impact all aspects of the natural environment, air, land, and water They are affected by the entire spectrum of human activity including individual and corporate/industrial behavior.

Through academic research performed in conjunction with interested industry, RRTTC-funded investigators will provide sound information to meet Iowa's current and upcoming environmental challenges.


In its first year, the RRTTC awarded five two-year research project grants and two one-year project grants focusing on solid waste issues including:

* The recovery of valuable condensable hydrocarbons from waste tires;
* The development of cellulose reinforced recycled plastic lumber;
* Magnetic separation of plastic wastes pursuant to recycling; and
* Methods for recovering precious metals from catalytic converters.

The RRTTC looks forward to continuing research eduction, and technology transfer in the areas of solid waste reuse and recycling.

Interested researchers business, industry and government leaders, students and others may obtain more information by calling or writing the RRTTC.


The purpose of the University of Norther Iowa's Recycling & Reuse Technology Transfer Center is to promote and support research, education, and outreach for solid waste reuse and recycling technologies and processes.

Established by the Iowa State Legislature, the RRTTC supports research projects to identify and design new reuse and recycling technologies; to transfer emerging and existing technologies and manufacturing processes to new industries; as well as to disseminate research findings and encourage implementation.

As part of the RRTTCs educational mission, funded research projects involve undergraduate and graduate students whenever possible.

RRTTC projects target key Iowa Industries and solid waste streams in order to reduce the amount of waste sent to Iowa landfills, with the overall goal of preventing environmental degradation while promoting Iowa's economy.

University of Northern Iowa
Recycling & Reuse
Technology Transfer Center
2244 McCollum Science Hall
Cedar Falls, IA 50614-0185

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Last Updated: April 21, 1997