Minneapolis to Collect Organics

Assignment: Do an interview or report on this initiative in the City of Minneapolis to collect organics.

Organics recycling is coming to Minneapolis
Sign up to get an organics cart

April 20, 2015 (MINNEAPOLIS) Minneapolis residents are big recyclers. They already save plastic, glass, metal, cardboard, paper, cartons and other containers from homes for their recycling pickup. Soon, they will also be able to save their organics for the City to collect for composting as well.

Sign up now
The organics recycling carts will be distributed only to customers who opt in. More than 10,000 households have already signed up. The carts will be distributed in two phases: about a quarter of households will have service available in August 2015 and the rest in spring 2016. Once residents get their carts, they can start filling them with organics in a compostable bag.

Last week, the City mailed packets of information to eligible residents to help them learn about organics recycling and to encourage them to sign up.

Minneapolis Solid Waste and Recycling customers can request a cart by emailing swrcustomer@minneapolismn.gov – they should make sure to include their address – or by calling 612-673-2917.

What will be collected?
Organics collection will include all food scraps, including fruits, vegetables, bones, meat trimmings, breads, pasta, nut shells, eggshells, coffee grounds, tea bags and dairy products. Organics collection also includes food-soiled paper that can’t be recycled, including paper towels, napkins, facial tissues, waxed paper, egg cartons and pizza boxes. Just make sure the paper is not lined with plastic. Other things that can go into organics recycling include wood chopsticks, wood Popsicle sticks, toothpicks, dryer lint, animal and human hair, certified compostable plastic and houseplant trimmings.

Some of these items can’t be managed in a backyard compost bin, so people who do their own composting at home can still benefit from the program. And collection continues all year round, so people who put their own composting on hold in the winter benefit from the collections too.

What won’t be collected?
Items not accepted include milk cartons, plastic-lined paper products, vacuum cleaner bags, liquids, oils, greases and fats. If an item can go into the regular recycling, it should go there instead of in the organics collection. Yard waste must remain separate; customers should keep using yard waste collection for branches, leaves, grass clippings and other outside plant material.

How does it work?
Just like having a separate bag or container to collect recyclables at home, people use separate containers for organics recycling. It is recommended that home users keep a small organics container conveniently near the kitchen to collect materials.

There is no reason to expect a new household smell from organics; separating organics doesn’t introduce any new materials that aren’t already there. It’s simply putting them in a different place to make use of a resource, instead of managing it as trash.

Residents now get a black cart for garbage and a blue one for recycling. Organics will be collected in green carts. Any organics from the home can be put in the green cart for pickup on the weekly collection day. Organics will need to be placed in compostable bags inside the cart to keep it clean year-round and to avoid freezing to it in the winter.

With people starting to divert “garbage” into the organics recycling, a lot of people will be able to switch to smaller garbage carts if they want to and save $3 every month on their utility bills.

Composting creates a resource out of valuable materials that would otherwise become trash. Using compost returns nutrients to the soil, reduces erosion, and reduces the needs for watering and for chemical fertilizers.

For more information visit http://www.minneapolismn.gov/organics.

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