Organics recycling is slow to catch on in Hennepin County

  • Article by: Mary Jane Smetanka , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 8, 2013 - 10:07 AM

St. Louis Park becomes the 12th Hennepin County city to offer a residential program. Advocates hope others will soon join in.

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shuckMay. 8, 13 1:40 AM

"In cities such as Portland, Ore., recycling is so efficient that organics are collected weekly while garbage is collected just twice a month." Please never let this happen here. I'm all for the recycling part, but I'd rather not have to store a month's worth of trash if I happen to be away from my house on garbage day...

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mrprogressiveMay. 8, 13 2:58 AM

I find it interesting that suburbs are taking the lead on this green program while Minneapolis desipe it's density only has a limited organics program.

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jcinmnMay. 8, 13 3:56 AM

What does this do to the in-sink waste disposal machine aka garbage disposal. I've been under the impression that all solid waste was extracted from sewage at the waste treatment station and composted. This seems to me to be far more efficient than transporting your food waste to a central location for composting.

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samiamMay. 8, 13 6:37 AM

This is a solution is search of a problem. If I compost at home I shouldn't have to pay for others to have the county haul it away for them.

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jimmyb007May. 8, 13 7:12 AM

Let the market work here and see how many people sign up. The Randy's program in Wayzata appears to be the way to go, since it does not require additional trash trucks to make additional rounds. This is also a burden on the environment since it wastes fossil fuels.

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debbywMay. 8, 13 7:12 AM

I live in Minneapolis in one of the neighborhoods that is in the organics pickup areas. I also work in a school that has it's organic waste picked up. The amount of stuff that cannot be either recycled (glas, plastic, metal, paper) or composted doesn't even half fill a small trashbag. The material that goes down the garbage disposal is collected with the sludge at the water treatment plant and then must be heated to kill any bacteria(think e-coli)if it is to be composted. This process also eliminates any fiber making it useless for the compost that can be sold for soil amendment. It also costs more than letting the natural process of composting occur. The neighborhood where my school is does not have the organics pickup and would like to. How do we make that happen? If density for pickup then let's all get on board as I think most hoseholds would be on board.

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honeybooMay. 8, 13 7:50 AM

The great lie about recycling endures... How much of what we put out curbside actually gets recycled, and how much are taxpayers being double-charged (recycling that doesn't happen, and for landfill charges for the same unrecycled matierials?). Don't expect environmentalists, politicians or the media to answer those questions anytime soon.

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swmnguyMay. 8, 13 8:35 AM

I live in South Minneapolis and I haven't even gotten my single-sort container yet. These things take a long time to implement.

We do our traditional sort-it-yourself recycling, and we compost vegetable scraps, leaves and lawn trimmings. Today is our trash pickup day. Our family of 4 has generated, over the past week, 3 8-gallon wastebasket bags of trash. We actually fill our 90-gallon trash bin only once or twice a year. On our bi-weekly recycling day, we have more recycling than trash by a wide margin. We just don't have a lot to throw away.

Of course, we prepare our own meals from food ingredients. We use a few cans and some dry-foods boxes. We have a pizza box maybe once a month, but no other frozen-food containers or anything else. We don't eat a lot of meat, and when we do, we eat it all, make stock with what's left of a chicken, etc.; so not much goes into the trash.

I'd be interested in organics recycling, but from the information in the article, we would only contribute the equivalent of a gallon or two per month. We already use the stuff that can be composted at home, and we don't use much of the other things that would go into these programs.

How does everybody else generate so much more trash? We're not on some virtue kick; we just have a budget, and basic, ordinary, standards for our diet.

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lexus09May. 8, 13 9:17 AM

Debby W- Contact John Jaimez at Hennepin County, he will help you with your questions.

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csigirl2May. 8, 13 1:43 PM

jcinmn - the insink garbage disposal was/is NEVER meant to handle all your organics. Really, its supposed to be just for the stuff that "gets away" when you're doing food prep. It is super hard on plumbing and at the wastewater treatment end costs a lot of money to deal with, not to mention then it ends up with human waste, which does not get composted in most cases (the Shakopee organics site which is on tribal lands is an exception).

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