Minnesota tinkers with solid waste law

Minnesota tinkers with solid waste law

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

May 29, 2014

After demurring on beverage container legislation earlier this year, Minnesota lawmakers this week took on recycling after all.

A series of changes to the state's solid waste law are anchored by two significant shifts: a requirement that businesses in and around Minneapolis and St. Paul begin recycling by 2016 and that Twin City metro counties recycle 60 percent of municipal solid waste (MSW) by 2030. Metro counties will also be asked to compost at least 15 percent of compostable items generated each year by 2030, while non-metro counties will have to recycle 35 percent of MSW by that same deadline.

The changes, which are the first in 25 years, were championed by Rep. Frank Hornstein.

Despite having one of the country's highest statewide recycling rates – Minnesota's sits at 46 percent – lawmakers and industry members in the Gopher State have recently begun to evaluate why recovery rates aren't increasing more.

Julie Ketchum, who serves as government affairs director at Waste Management, told the StarTribune the changes were in line with the area's needs. "We want to increase recycling rates and this is a huge opportunity for us to do that," Ketchum stated.

A Waste Management study revealed that more than half of Twin City businesses send discarded material to the landfill instead of to a recycling center.

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