Resource Recovery System

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Resource Recovery Plant

Welcome to City of Ames


Smart Trash logo

-- where our community recycles metals and glass, and prepares 60% of the waste stream to be used as fuel at our power plant to help generate electricity for Ames!

 Bill Schmitt, Superintendent

110 Center Avenue
Ames, IA 50010
Phone:          515-239-5137
Toll Free:      877-639-5661
Fax:               515-239-5490

Monday - Friday, 7 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Saturday, 8 a.m. - noon 


Car line activity has been suspended until

July 1, 2020, or until further notice: no drop

off of regular household garbage, sharps,

waste oil, fluorescents, batteries, etc.





The Arnold O. Chantland Resource Recovery Plant (RRP) was the first municipally owned and operated waste-to-energy facility in the nation and opened for business in 1975. The plant receives garbage/refuse from Ames and the surrounding communities in Story County. Private contractors are available to haul garbage/refuse, but citizens can also do it themselves. 

We are a plant that recovers reusable metals and garbage/refuse. Both ferrous and non-ferrous metal is extracted by magnets and sold to a scrap dealer for recycling. The rest of the garbage/refuse is shredded by machines and falls into two categories:

The burnable portion of the garbage/refuse becomes Refuse Derived Fuel, or RDF, which is piped to the City's power plant. It is used as a RESPONSIBLE, SUSTAINABLE, and LOCAL supplemental fuel in the natural gas boilers to generate electricity. This way we help to conserve precious fossil fuels.

The City is permitted by the Iowa DNR to operate its power plant. This permit regulates the type and amount of fuel it can burn.  Under natural gas, the permit allows the City to burn RDF up to 30% by weight.  We start by choosing a good RDF to gas ratio to produce a good, stable burn.  If we approach this weight limit, we add natural gas to the fuel mix to reduce RDF/natural gas ratio until we hit a similar physical constraint as seen with coal (physically the boiler cannot handle much more than the 30% by weight due to the size of the RDF, grate floor space, and stability of the burn due to the variability of the RDF).

The non-burnable material is sent to a landfill. Since it is shredded, it takes up much less volume in the landfill than it would if it were buried whole.

We believe it is better to generate electricity with our waste than it is to bury it in a landfill.  This is the most cost effective and environmentally conscious approach.

Through this process more than 80 acres of Iowa farmland have been saved from becoming a landfill!

In addition, more than 4,600 homes are provided electricity generated with RDF each year.

If you have further questions about waste disposal, please call or fax the Resource Recovery Plant at:


877-639-5661  toll free 

515-239-5490  fax 

Below is our plant video and a time lapse view of the tipping floor.

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