Organics Recycling

February 2019:

Dear Sustainability Sam,          
What does the city do with the Organics they collect? Do they actually do something with it or does it go to a landfill?
Dear Holly,
That’s a great question!  I often wonder if all the effort I’m making to dispose of household waste properly is actually making a difference.  In this case, the answer is definitely “Yes!” Minneapolis organics recycling does NOT end up in a landfill.  It is collected and delivered to a facility in Rosemount that mixes the organics waste with yard waste to create a nutrient-rich soil amendment for use in gardens, landscaping, and even road construction. The process takes 6 months to a year to complete and involves a lot of mixing and temperature reading to ensure the resulting compost is of high quality.  This compost is then made available to the public to purchase for use in their own landscaping and gardens and around 600 cubic yards of compost is given back to the city of Minneapolis each year for use in parks and community gardens. Organics recycling is well worth the effort because it is beneficial to the environment in a variety of ways: 1. Waste reduction.  A 2016 study by Hennepin County found that organics make up around 25% of our garbage so organics recycling is a relatively easy and very important way to reduce the amount of trash we produce. 2. Greenhouse Gas Reduction.  Organics that end up in landfills generate methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Diverting organics to composting helps to reduce landfill methane emissions. 3. Water Quality and Conservation. When nutrient-rich compost is added to soil, it reduces the need for fertilizers and pesticides. It also increases the water retention of soil, which reduces runoff and erosion that can pollute our water and helps to conserve water. Like all recycling,  there are rules to follow with organics recycling to ensure that the resulting collection is not contaminated.  You can access the guidelines here.  If you have any questions about organic recycling the city has helpful information here.  And if you would like to purchase compost made using the organics the city collects you can buy it here. Sincerely, Sustainability Sam