To live is a state where landfills are a thing of the past through the recovery of energy from waste, recycling where feasible and by restoring existing landfills. 


wastenotIOWA is an organization of citizens dedicated to making IOWA a landfill-free zone. To accomplish this we will:

  1. INFORM the public of the environmental hazards created by burying waste.
  2. STUDY alternative technologies of waste management including enhanced recycling practices, gasification and plasma arc systems.
  3. EXPAND recognition of the opportunities made possible by harvesting waste as a renewable energy resource.
  4. EDUCATE  the public and decision makers alike on state-of-the-art, environmentally friendly, and effective waste handling alternatives to landfills.
  5. INCREASE the number of IOWANS committed to waste-to-energy ACTION! 

IOWA has used landfills for many years and until recent requirements, they are unlined polluting our beautiful land’s air and water. New landfills must have a liner however the hazard of the waste that is buried there does not go away.  If new landfills are needed, they are very difficult to site requiring years of negotiations, much land area at high cost, not to mention dissention in the community. Other waste is shipped out of state requiring fuel to get it there. Recycling only answers part of the problem.

Looking to technology

Locked up in the waste we send to landfills is an enormous amount of BTUs. These BTUs can be recycled into useful forms including energy. This can be in the form of heat, gases and electricity. Citizens and local governments all over the world are getting excited about the possibilities technology can bring, especially with high energy prices and reliance on unstable foreign governments. There are successful existing applications and new ways to use proven technologies that are moving past the research stage, being developed and built. 

31 Responses to 'Home'

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  1. Erik said,

    This is really good to have information about this subject.

  2. wastenaughton said,

    In the summer of 2004, I opened a law office in scenic Marion, Iowa, a city of about 30,000 souls. The leaders of Marion’s neighbor to the west, Cedar Rapids, quaintly view Marion as a small town whose residents are lucky to work in the larger, more metropolitan Cedar Rapids. I first learned about plasma torch technology during the ensuing months at Huntington’s Restaurant in downtown Marion, where town thinkers gather daily to discuss issues of importance the city. In the heat of the battle over where to locate the county’s new landfill, a group of Marion advocates came across the concept of vaporizing municipal solid waste, MSW, by vaporizing it with plasma torch technology. When they proposed plasma torch technology to the county solid waste organization, Bluestem, the immediate response was, “It costs too much.” The entrenched bureaucracy dominating Linn County’s solid waste agency balked at the cost of building and operating a plasma torch system to dispose of solid waste and produce energy. On learning of the possibility of such a disruptive technology to change the paradigm for disposing of garbage, recycling metal and eliminating landfills, I suggested we examine the income side of the equation as a possible way to rebut objections concerning the cost of building one. On inquiry, we found that most of the companies that claim to possess the expertise and ability to actually build and operate a plasma MSW disposal system claim all the information is proprietary, retarding our efforts to gather sufficient information about the revenue potential. Our thinking was then, and is now, that the revenue from energy production and from other byproducts of a plasma system should offset the cost of building and operating the system and might even generate a profit. We’ve slowly been gathering data as to the inputs and outputs of plasma systems and have now, with the formation of our nonprofit corporation, wastenotIowa, to educating and promoting people across the state of Iowa about the potential of alternate technologies, such as plasma to change the way we view and handle our waste. At some point, a technology solution, such as the plasma torch, will replace the landfill throughout our state.

  3. wastenaughton said,

    wastenotIOWA arose from our fight to stop the county from expanding a local landfill adjacent to the city of Marion, Iowa when the main county landfill closed along the river in Czech Village, near downtown Cedar Rapids. We proposed the landfill commission grasp the opportunity to explore alternative technology solutions. When we stumbled on the concept of plasma arc technology for vaporizing solid waste, we did everything we could to encourage local politicians and bureaucrats to seriously consider plasma technology, the balked at the cost. We set out to examine the potential revenue streams a plasma system might generate. Our efforts fell of deaf ears. It might entail too much change for our local “leaders” to comprehend.

  4. Charlie Kress said,

    Great stuff, wastenaughton

    Charlie Kress

  5. wastenaughton said,

    wastenotIOWA is negotiating with educational institutions statewide to locate a plasma arch waste handling system in the state. Meanwhile, we are continuing to promote plasma and other technology solutions for disposing of solid waste, hazardous waste and hospital waste in lieu of simply dumping it in a landfill. This past weekend, two of our board members met with William Quapp, of Integrated Environmental Technology, to explore a possible partnership in establishing a solid waste handling system that will provide energy for a local college or a city or industrial project.

  6. wastenaughton said,

    Today, wastenotIOWA members met with the Economic Development Joint Senate House Appropriations Committee of the Iowa Legislature. They seemed quite interested in the plasma arc technology, especially when we discussed the potential relationship between a plasma arc system and a biodiesel or ethanol plant or the possibility that a plasma system might produce ethanol more efficiently than using corn.

  7. wastenaughton said,

    Today, we received calls from an RC&D board in Illinois requesting a meeting to learn more about plasma arc technology in waste disposal and energy productions. They plan to do a feasibility study on which technology will work best to convert waste to energy and eliminate landfills in Illinois. We’ plan to meet with them in the next three weeks. Meanwhile, a group of California investors has expressed an interest in our efforts.

  8. great job guys. thanks for the updates. my website prostatelasercenter.com now has a link to wastenotIOWA.org. If i am using a public computer, i will make wastenotIOWA.org the home page. Perople are fascinated and you guys are doing a great job spreading the word. Tim Mulholland

  9. not sure if my last comment went through. thanks for the updates, I do read them, great job spreading the word. wastenotIOWA is now an official link at my website, prostatelasercenter.com. Tim Mulholland

  10. wastenaughton said,

    Thanks to Dr. Gary Young for his informative article, “How Trash can Power Ethanol Plants” in the February 2007 issue of Public Utilities Fortnightly. It should soon be online at Public Utilities Reports, Inc. at http://www.pur.com/index.cfm but the February issue of the magazine does not appear to have been posted as of this writing.

  11. wastenaughton said,

    On NPR’s “Justice Talking,” Margot Adler did a great story on Trash Management and Recycling over the weekend, which aired Saturday morning on our local stations. It is worth a listen at http://www.justicetalking.org/viewprogram.asp?progID=594

    It is unfortunate they did not mention plasma arc technology, which I believe to be the ultimate in clean recycling, at least currently, until some better technology comes along.

  12. Thanks so much to the city of Marion, Iowa for stepping up to the plate to support the ongoing study of plasma arc system research. At their Thursday budget hearing, the Marion City Council approved a grant of $25,000 to wastenotIOWA to support our ongoing research into the feasibility of plasma arc waste-to-energy systems for Iowa communities, industry and bio-fuel production firms.

    The money we will receive from the city of Marion will be used as matching funds to raise additional funds for feasibility research.

    We’re one step closer to our goal – making Iowa a landfill free zone.

  13. Three things of note in today’s Mother’s Day news (5/13/07):

    1. The headline, “Boom Town,” in today’s Gazette caught my eye. But a thorough search turned up no info in the story about the Boom Town reference in the headline.

    2. I wasn’t surprised that the Gazette would do a two-page story about the saving graces of the North Dakota coal plant. But not a sentence about whether the L.S. Power and Alliant plants and the Mid-America coal plant being built in Council Bluffs will employ such wonderful technologies.

    3. The headline editorial in the Des Moines Register admonished the Iowa DNR to get serious about enforcing the law that forbids cities and towns from draining sewage into lakes and streams. Three cheers for teh Register.


  14. LS Power appears to be greasing the palms of everyone in sight in Black Hawk county to push the approvals of that power plant before the next administration gets elected. They gave UNI $400,000 for research on the use of biomass fuel in the new coal plant. That puny amount isn’t enough to research anything of consequence. Unfortunately, the design is in no way suitable for biomass and could never be configured to burn biomass. It is also unfortunate that UNI’s budget is so tight that the university did not have the fortitude to stand-up for what they stand, energy education, sustainability, carbon neutrality and waste reduction and simply make a public rejection of the “donation.” A principled rejection of such a tiny gift would probably have generated more support for UNI from its real supporters. Apparently, the city of Waterloo has also been promised money or benefits in the way of tax revenue to look the other way. What a shame. Cedar Rapids and Marion are downstream from the proposed LS Power location every time they turn off the scrubbers and the wind is heading south.

    It’s a mystery how Mid-American Energy can build a 900 MW plant for $850 – $900 million, while LS Power is spending closer to $1.2 Billion for a similar size or a little smaller plant. One can only surmise that the difference in cost is in the PR expenses LS Power is incurring. We haven’t heard whether the design of any of the new coal plants being built in Iowa will utilize design characteristics of the plant in Central North Dakota that claims near zero emissions and even pumps its carbon dioxide back into the ground under pressure to recover natural gas.

  15. Alan Pederson said,

    I hope you’ve seen the Popular Science Magazine, in its March ’07 issue has produced a 9-page, well-illustrated feature article on the Startech Plasma Converter as the “Miracle Energy Machine — How to Turn Toxic Waste into Clean Power.”
    You might want to look at what they are doing. Go to “www.startech.net” and learn more about them.

  16. Thanks to Alan Pederson for pointing us to the article on Startech. I have been out of the country lately and unable to keep up with this site. I visited Startech a year ago. It was a good article. I have been following Startech’s communications for a couple years. Although they continue to announce projects to build plasma facilities from Poland to Puerto Rico, I’ve seen no evidence they have completed or commenced operation of any such facilities.

  17. KJ Lumsden said,

    Here is another interesting article on doing away with Landfill Pollution .
    Zapping MSW with Plasma Arc – Feature Article – Pollution EngineeringCase 1 presented the preliminary economics of a plasma arc gasification facility for Linn County, producing 800 kWh per ton MSW for sale as excess energy. …
    http://www.pollutioneng.com/CDA/Articles/Feature_Article/0d0d1784466be010VgnVCM100000f932a8c0____ – Similar pages

  18. J Dugger said,

    This Technology is great to see being done.. Protect the Environment and produces an asset of products. J

    WILTON, CT, June, 2007 –/WORLD-WIRE/– Startech Environmental Corporation (OTC BB: STHK), a fully reporting company, announced that it has signed the contract and received a 10% cash down-payment from EnviroSafe Industrial Services Corporation of San Juan, Puerto Rico for its purchase of three Plasma Converter Systems.

    The combined capacity of approximately 50,000 pounds per day for the new EnviroSafe Recycling Facility in Puerto Rico is scheduled for start-up in 2008.

    The EnviroSafe contract was coordinated by the PlasmaTech Caribbean Corporation, Startech’s exclusive distributor for Puerto Rico, the Territories and the Island Nations of the Caribbean. About Startech
    – The Environment and Energy Company
    Startech Environmental is an environment and energy industry company engaged in the production and sale of its innovative, proprietary plasma processing equipment known as the Plasma Converter System™.

    The Plasma Converter System safely and economically destroys wastes, no matter how hazardous or lethal, and turns most into useful and valuable products. In doing so, the System protects the environment and helps to improve the public health and safety. The System achieves closed-loop elemental recycling to safely and irreversibly destroy Municipal Solid Waste, organics and inorganics, solids, liquids and gases, hazardous and non-hazardous waste, industrial by-products and also items such as “e-waste,” medical waste, chemical industry waste and other specialty wastes, while converting many of them into useful commodity products that can include metals and a synthesis-gas called Plasma Converted Gas (PCG)™.

    Among the many commercial uses for PCG, is its use to produce “green electrical power,” Gas-To-Liquid (GTL) fuels such as ethanol, synthetic diesel fuel and other higher alcohol “alternative” fuels. Hydrogen, for use and sale, can also be separated and recovered from the PCG synthesis gas mixture.

    The Startech Plasma Converter is essentially a manufacturing system producing commodity products from feedstocks that were previously regarded as wastes.

    Startech regards all wastes, hazardous and non-hazardous, as valuable renewable resources.

  19. Interesting to see Startech on our blog. I’ve visited them and attempted to involve them in our plasma facility development project in Iowa. Startech seems to be proficient at issuing press releases. Nobody knows of a project they have finished.

  20. Today’s news from New York that Mayor Bloomberg has signed a 20-year, $1 billion Bronx contract with Waste Management to ship New York’s municipal waste by train out of the city for disposal “in an environmentally friendly and sustainable way.” Somehow, utilizing Waste Management for environmentally friendly disposal gives rise in the minds of most of us to an intellectual disconnect. None of the news reports mention where the garbage is going or how it will be ultimately disposed of.

    Query: Where and how will it be disposed? Previously, New York waste has been handled in incinerators in the Bronx and New Jersey?

    Incinerators produce hazardous fly ash, which is probably dumped in landfills. Several plasma arc technology firms have expressed an interest in New York’s MSW, but the mayor and city council opted for the same old technology — hauling and dumping. All the news media reporting the story have praised the use of rail transport as an innovative stroke of genius. How clever of them to export their trash by rail out of state for someone else to deal with. The discovery of a 150-year-old transport method of export is an idea of supernova caliber. New York could easily have kept their trash, saved $1 million and converted it to clean energy using a plasma arc facility. Such innovation on the part of the New York city council and the New York media who blindly praised them ranks them all right up there with the likes of Cedar Rapids, Iowa city council and the Linn County Solid Waste Agency.

  21. J Dugger said,

    Email this Article Print View
    Coal: Good vs. Evil

    December 1, 2007

    Coal is used to produce half of the electricity consumed in the United States. Demand for energy is expected to grow by 40 percent by 2030. The Bush administration forecasts that 6,000 megawatts of additional coal-fired capacity is needed every year to meet that demand.

    However, coal is believed to be a leading source of greenhouse gases and causing global warming. Of over 150 announced plans to build new coal-fired power plants, only 15 have been built since 2002, generating a total of 3,700 megawatts. At least 16 power plant proposals totaling nearly 14,000 megawatts have been scrapped due to political pressure.

    This can be compared to plans in China to add a new coal-fired power plant at the rate of nearly one per week over the next decade. Emissions from these plants alone are predicted to nullify the cuts made by Europe, Japan and other countries under the Kyoto Treaty according to a report from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington.

    Attempts to clean up coal have largely been unsuccessful. Technology to reduce or cut out CO2 emissions is expensive and years away from widespread commercial use. As the collision between demand and supply grows closer, activists claim the only solution is to reduce consumption.

  22. Terry Kocsis said,

    As a retired engineer with a deep concern for U.S. energy independence and more domestic jobs I cam across plasma gasification of waste as an obvious opportunity that is being ignored by too many.
    I applaud your efforts and wish more would follow your lead.
    I would like to suggest several items that I have not seen on your site.
    1. Opportunity to “REDUCE”. IF you build your plasma gasification plants closer to the source of waste, rather than to the landfills (normally remote areas) you can “reduce” the time, energy, transportation emissions, which can be very substantial. example: if a 400 ton per day plant reduced the transportation distance by about 14 miles (one way) you could save as much as 400,000 truck miles / yr, 7,000 man-hours / yr, & 81,000 gallons of fuel per year.
    Therefore, I suggest you look at WHERE the waste is generated, and select a site that makes the best opportunity to REDUCE the transfer expense.
    2. On page 54 & 56 of your link
    I think there are additional uses for the syngas that you may want to consider.
    Run the waste management vehicles on CNG, or LP.
    Use the syngas as feedstock for ammonia nitrogen fertilizer similar to the plant run by Rentech inc. in IL.
    Use the syngas as feedstock for diesel fuel.

    NOTE. If you are successful you may find that some sites are more suited for one use of the syngas than others. Just keep all of your options on the table.

    Best of luck.
    Terry Kocsis, Ohio

  23. Charlie Kress said,

    InEnTec arrived in Cedar Rapids late last week. Their plasma unit is located at site 1. The portable demonstration unit can handle 1-2 tons per day. They plan to have the equipment running in January. InEnTec has a small product offering for medical/hazarous waste and a larger system for general waste treatment.

  24. This came from From: Travis LaCombe
    Tuesday, December 23, 2008

    Plans to burn trash with plasma face hurdles
    Plans to generate power and eliminate landfill waste by ripping trash apart at the molecular level in Florida and California are running into steep hurdles from local opponents.


  25. Charlie Kress posted this response to a question that arose from our visit to the landfill where the InEnTech plasma melter demo unit is operating:

    I think of the plasma arc as the “spark” between two electrodes that have had a voltage high enough to generate the spark applied to the electrodes. PC magazine defines plasma in this way: “One of four states of matter (solid, liquid, plasma and gas). The plasma state is a gas that is heated to the point where it begins to release electrons. Although plasma occurs naturally on the sun and other stars, it is artificially produced in fluorescent lights and plasma displays by electrically charging a gas in order to release ultraviolet light.” The plasma arc (3,000oC to 5,000oC) in a gasification scheme melts nonorganic material and dissociates (breaks the carbon-based compounds into basic elements.

    The melted inorganic material is not plasma – it is a glass-like obsidian material from which there is virtually no leaching. The waste is “placed” in the plasma really means the waste is passed through a plasma arc between two electrodes. Their annotated diagram is

    Attached to this email is InEnTec’s explanation from their website.

    The number to call to arrange a tour is at the Agency: 377-5290. Pat will schedule your group. Tours are normally Wednesdays and Fridays. There are no tours this coming week. After that, it’s okay if they have openings.

  26. The InEntec annotated diagram referenced by Charlie Kress is found at:


  27. dennisnaughton said,

    This St. Patrick’s Day news came from Erik Miles, a wastenotIOWA board member.

    Today the DNR Environmental Protection Committee unanimously approved the contract between the City of Marion and SCS Engineers so we can now go forward with the Plasma Torch Study. The Commissioners were very supportive and look forward to the results as well as our progress.

    Also, thanks to Mayor Paul Rehn who also spoke on behalf of approving the contract and Charlie who was able to provide some more details in answer to Commission questions. There were five wastenotIOWA folks there for support as well. The Commission made the decision before lunch however this is my first opportunity to get to my laptop. Thanks to everyone who has helped to get us this far.

    Two days later, the Marion, Iowa city council approved the city’s contract with Floriday based SCS Engineering to complete our economic analysis of the potential for a plasma torch facility here. We’ll meet with them soon.

  28. Mikle said,

    Russia, Ekaterinburg.
    We want to build in our city plant plasma gasification of solid waste, but encountered the same problem you described on the site.

    We can not understand the economic efficiency of the plant.

    Maybe you can share information about your project. I learned about it from a report on the exhibition in Orlando.


    Thanks in advance

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