Sustainability Sam

Welcome to a new feature offered by our Environmental Committee! Each month, Sustainability Sam will answer your questions about how you can be more sustainable. Send your questions to for a chance to be featured in an upcoming response.

Avoiding Party Waste

Dear Sam, I always cringe when I see the amount of waste at parties. What advice do you have to avoid single-use items like paper plates, plastic cups, silverware, paper napkins, etc. when hosting people at your home or at our upcoming block party? Thank you, Sally ————————————————- Dear Sally, […]

Earth Friendly Lawns

Dear Sustainability Sam, We have a traditional grass lawn that is becoming sparse for various reasons. What is good alternative (renewable, less chemical-dependent) ground cover that we could fill in with? What are resources for homeowners wanting more earth friendly lawns?  Pat *** Dear Pat, Grass lawns are undoubtedly pretty […]

Bathroom Composting

Hi Sam, I’ve been composting in the kitchen for a while and would like to get into composting in the bathroom as well. But, I’m not sure what’s okay to compost! ~Amelia ————- Dear Amelia, Thank you for your dedication to recycling organic waste in your kitchen and for committing […]

Road Chemicals

Dear Sustainability Sam, What happens to all the road chemicals used in winter months to keep the roads clear? -Brian Dear Brian, Thanks for the question! As we all are aware, Minnesota winters are harsh and to keep the roads safe and clear for transportation, counties and municipalities use a […]

Storm Drains

April 2019 Dear Sustainability Sam, Why is it so important to clear the storm drains in the streets? -Beth ——————————— Dear Beth, Thank you for asking this important question. You may have seen Minneapolis neighbors out chipping away at ice-covered storm drains and clearing away all that winter gunk from the […]

Recycling Questions Answered

March 2019 Dear Dedicated Minneapolis Recyclers, Thank you to everyone who submitted recycling questions on Nextdoor and Facebook. I am so encouraged by your motivation to recycle right! Below are answers to all of your recycling questions, organized by topic, but first I’d like to start by sharing four important […]

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? -Holly ———————————————– Dear Holly,That’s a great question!  I often wonder if all the effort I’m making […]

Community Solar Gardens

January 2019: Dear Sustainability Sam, I have gotten several ads for solar energy/joining on a solar energy grid. Not sure how it works, or if it’s a scam. Anybody using? Would love to participate if it helps save energy, and if it’s legit too, of course. -Joan *** Dear Joan, […]

Low Waste Holidays

December 2018: Dear Sustainability Sam, The holidays generate so much garbage!  What can be recycled and what are some ways I can cut down on generating so much waste? Sincerely, Keri Dear Keri, This is a timely and important question! From leftovers that don’t get eaten, to the large garbage […]