Muscatine Organics Recycling Center

Muscatine, Iowa

Award of Merit

OWNER: City of Muscatine

LEAD DESIGN FIRM: Stanley Consultants

GENERAL CONTRACTOR: Leander Construction


The $19.5-million Muscatine Organics Recycling Center is one of just three municipally owned food waste recycling facilities in the U.S. and the only one in the Midwest. Packaged foods that would otherwise be sent to landfills undergo an innovative conversion process in which organic solids are converted into reusable biogas utilizing the same anaerobic digesters that treat the city’s wastewater. Appropriately, the MORC is located in a previously idled recycling center and utilizes multiple pieces of equipment repurposed from previous uses. The 35,000-gallon concrete tank used to blend and store organic waste underwent extensive interior cleaning and resurfacing before being retrofitted with new pumps, piping and controls to create a homogeneous mixture suitable for the digesters. 

The building team also worked to optimize process flow within the constraints of the existing recycling center facility. The massive turbo-separator, which uses high-speed paddles to separate organic waste from containers and packaging, was carefully aligned with underlying foundation piles, minimizing the risk of floor overloading.