Master Planning Efforts to Begin for Dane County’s Sustainability Campus

December 15, 2022
Ariana Vruwink, 608-267-8823
County Executive, Waste & Renewables

With less than 10 years of landfill space remaining at Dane County's Rodefeld Landfill, the Dane County Department of Waste & Renewables wants to redesign how the community’s waste is managed. The vision includes the development of a Sustainability Campus that will host waste processors, recycling businesses, and even research and startup companies. The Campus is expected to bolster economic development in the area, create jobs, and foster reuse opportunities for materials that will help Dane County move toward a more circular economy.


“The Dane County Department of Waste & Renewables has a long history of completing successful, innovative projects like the Renewable Natural Gas Plant and Offload Station, Construction and Demolition Recycling Facility, native prairie cover on the landfill, and the Trash Lab mobile education exhibit,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. “We are confident our innovative vision for meeting Dane County’s future waste management needs will follow this same path.”


The Sustainability Campus project, currently proposed for the eastern portion of the Yahara Hills Golf Course, includes a business park, an organics processing facility, a waste education center, and a landfill. Dane County and the City of Madison have previously collaborated to approve land sale and business development agreements to enable the project.


“The intent is to design the site for flexibility to ensure we can adapt to new technologies and future waste streams. We want to move towards a future where waste is landfilled as a last resort and not considered a liability, but a resource and an opportunity,” said Parisi.


In order to advance the planning efforts for this innovative project, a team of County and City staff has selected local firms SCS Engineers and Vandewalle & Associates to assist with the Campus’s development.


“SCS Engineers and Vandewalle & Associates are excited to partner with Dane County and the City of Madison on this important, forward-thinking project,” said SCS Engineers Project Manager Betsy Powers. “We are local staff invested in the community and supportive of the vision for sustainability.”


These firms will work with Dane County to plan and host community workshops that will provide public engagement opportunities and work to inform the public of the design and goals of the Campus. They will also start to engage with businesses to find potential waste diversion business partners for the Campus. This work will evaluate the business case for diverting various waste materials such as mattresses, food waste, plastics, and other materials. Metrics will also be developed by these firms to gauge the success of the Sustainability Campus’s waste diversion efforts. The firms will summarize their findings in a comprehensive plan that will provide a robust development framework for the Sustainability Campus.


“The Sustainability Campus is an exciting project that will greatly enhance the City’s efforts to keep materials out of the landfill, accelerate our transition to a local circular economy, and create a space for innovation and business development. We look forward to our continued partnership with Dane County to develop this project and realize our shared vision of a sustainable, low-waste future,” said City of Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway.


“This planning process is a critical step in paving the way for a successful project, and we are excited to be working with SCS Engineers and Vandewalle & Associates on these endeavors,” said Dane County Department of Waste & Renewables Director John Welch. “They have a strong, talented team, consisting of local professionals as well as national experts in the sustainable materials management field, who bring invaluable experience to the table as we begin our comprehensive planning process.”


To continue staying up to date on the latest information about the Sustainability Campus, visit the project page at:




The mission of the Department is to provide environmentally-sound and sustainable waste management and renewable energy solutions for current Dane County residents and future generations. This includes looking at waste as a resource to create renewable fuels and the conservation of landfill air space through waste diversion, recycling, and efficient operations.  


To learn more about the Dane County Department of Waste & Renewables Sustainability Campus or sign up for our e-newsletter, please email

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