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Discussion: Organics Recycling

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Hennepin County has a goal to have 75 percent of waste recycled by 2030. In 2015, 46 percent of waste generated in Hennepin County was diverted to recycling or organics recycling. Even though recycling in the County has steadily increased, it’s slowed down the last few years. To help reach this goal, the City of Edina encourages residents to increase their participation in recycling, including recycling organics. While only one of the refuse haulers licensed in Edina currently accepts organics, there are other ways to reduce waste by composing organics at home. The City of Edina is currently offering residents free MaxAir compost buckets and BioBags, to collect kitchen scraps.

If you are recycling organics, what did you think at first might be difficult or a barrier, but wasn’t?

8 Responses

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Dave Bender 3 months ago

Some barriers or problems we've run into:

1) What to do in the winter time, when the super cold brings composting to a halt. 2) What to do with the finished compost. It's nice dirt, and we've put it around some plants in the yard, but now we've got too much topsoil. Composting really reduces the volume of the waste, and it's interesting to see when it's really cooking (steam comes out of the pile when it's cold out if you're doing it right), but it doesn't make it disappear completely. So there needs to be a place to get rid of the finished dirt.

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Victoria Kent 3 months ago

When I was a single family homeowner I composted in our back yard for more than 15 years and used the soil created in my yard.

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Jennifer Hennemuth 3 months ago

For those who garden, composting at home is a great option. But for those who don't, it's not really clear what the benefit of separating compostable items are. I always figured biodegradable items are a moot point compared to plastic and the like, which I do recycle. This article provides information on the methane gas and cost of energy that could be reduced by composting as well: http://makedirtnotwaste.org/sites/default/files/composting_factsheet_0.pdf. I guess my only concern, is how do we ensure that people are only composting appropriate matter? I'm sure there is a cost involved/waste factor for foreign matter in composted material. For example, meat scraps really should not be composted nor do we want any potential toxic matter being spread on agricultural fields. It would seem a lot easier to sort out unrecyclable plastic for example, than uncompostable matter...

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Sandy Radeke 2 months ago

When you use a program like Vierkant's organics program, that goes to a large compost pile, you can put meat scraps in (and I do) because those huge piles get hot enough to break them down. It is surprisingly easy to figure out what is compostable.

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Janet Ha 3 months ago

I'm not a gardener. I started using Vierkant many years ago (2008 maybe?), around the time that the schools started to separate and recycle organics. I thought the smell might be bad, but that is not an issue at all. I wasn't always able to find 13 gallon bags that I liked but that has been less of an issue lately. Some of the bags are no good though, and break easily. I worried about bugs, and while we get some activity in really hot weeks, for the most part it's not a problem. I like being able to fill the bin with leaves and yard waste all year, instead of having a yard waste season. Vierkant picks up every week April-Nov, but Nov-April it's every two weeks. I probably worried that intrepid raccoons would get in the bin but that hasn't happened either. It's really easy to sort the organics.

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Dianne Latham 2 months ago

Some haulers said that they did not pick up organics because in the winter they froze to the bottom of the recycling card. I have never had that happen. I do take care, however to put something dry on the bottom of the cart like leaves, tissues or paper towels, etc. We also keep our organics cart in the garage in the winter so that it is easier to access for tossing out food waste. Even if something ever froze in the bottom during the few hours it is sitting outside awaiting pickup, the cart is never more than half full during the winter so there would still be room in 2 weeks. Since the garage is only heated to 45F during the winter, the cart never smells.

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Anne Salmen about 1 month ago

When we began recycling organics via Vierkant six years ago, I was concerned re order related to the countertop bin for food waste as well as how hard it would be to get used to the "rules." The odor has not been an issue at all thanks to a stainless bin with charcoal filters changes a couple times a year. The learning curve was not a big deal. It was a very easy change for us to make and our young children get it and take that knowledge into their school and the world, which is a nice bonus reward.

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Melissa Seeley about 1 month ago

I, too, use Vierkant and have for many years. They provide excellent service and we chose them because they offer organics collection. Separating waste into three streams (trash, recycling, organics) is a great way to evaluate just how much waste you produce as well as the composition of each stream. The ability to mix the yard waste with the organics is another way this collection is made easy for residents. We have never had an issue with smell or rodents and often keep this bin outside.
I would love to see the city move forward on organics either through requiring the service be provided by haulers or look into a city-wide contract like with our recycling.

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