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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.

How are you tackling food waste in your home? (Examples: backyard compost, arrangement through refuse hauler, nothing right now, etc.)

23 Responses

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Dave Bender 6 months ago

How am I tackling food waste?! I'd rather not touch it. I'm certainly not tackling it. But we are composting and have been for quite a few years. We put it into a counter top bin with a handle that lets us grind it up. When the bucket's full, it goes out to the modified trash can (bottom cut off and sunk into the ground a few inches.) When that fills up, move it to a bigger composting bin farther out in the backyard.

We've also used an indoor machine that did a decent job in the winter time, but someone (it might have been me) lost the adapter for it, so it's not currently in use.

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Judith Felker 5 months ago

Dave, I'm interested in knowing the name of that "counter top bin with a handle that lets us grind it up". Does it grind up banana peals, too? That's our bulkiest item for compost. Could you also give details on the "indoor machine". I'd prefer not having to walk out to our "compost heap" in the winter. Thank you. If you'd put this info on "Nextdoor Neighbor" more people will see it. Thanks again.

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Victoria Kent 6 months ago

During the growing season, I take our compostables to a small bin at our community garden plot. Other times it ends up in the garbage. I live in a condo building and strongly urge Edina to provide compost collection bins for multiple family buildings. A back yard compost bin is not practical.

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Susan Welna 6 months ago

I have a compost bin in the back yard but don't use it in the winter since it's inaccessible. It's not a particularly successful composting effort but better than nothing. I would welcome community organics composting.

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Spencer Chandler 6 months ago

We are very happily using Vierkant's composting option. We got a small green bucket and some compostable bags from City Hall, which we appreciated, and switched our garbage service to Vierkant. They provide very good, personal customer service. We are renovating our home and currently renting a home on the dividing line between Edina and St. Louis Park, so the garbage and water are handled through SLP, and they provide automatic composting, which we thoroughly appreciate. We will be glad to come back to Vierkant later this year, though. We would like to see composting be mandatory for Edina. Our garbage can and the amount that goes in it have both shrunk considerably.

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Richard Manser 6 months ago

I am also very happy with Vierkant's composting solution. However, having only one of our waste providers offer this service is a barrier because many residents are reluctant to change waste providers. All Edina waste haulers should be required to offer organics recycling.

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Mary Rogers 6 months ago

I would hope this program would grow. I've glad Vierkant offers this option which my church takes advantage of. However, I'm in a condo building and I'm not sure how it would work in a large apartment building. I wonder if others have experience with this situation.

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Karen Seay 6 months ago

When we were hopeful of gardening in our yard when we moved in 9 years ago, we began composting in a rotary tumbler. It soon became clear that between rabbits and deer, gardening in our yard was going to be very, very difficult, and the rotary composter did not work as well as we had hoped, because we tried to camouflage it in too much shade. Currently we are not composting, but would love to if there were an option for pick-up. Our waste provider does not offer it as an option.

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Elizabeth Carlson 5 months ago

I agree that Vierkant offers a great service. It's year-round, so my food scraps can be composted in the winter through their pickup. In the summer, I compost in my back yard. I would encourage all Edina waste haulers to offer organics recycling. It makes a lot of sense to return organic nutrients to the soil rather than putting them in a landfill or an incinerator.

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Mary Werbalowsky 5 months ago

We have been composting in our back yard with a bin that you can turn so it makes it easy to mix. My husband is the expert and he adds leaves and grass clippings to help the process so that we have rich, dark dirt from it that we can use in the garden. We also use Vierkant to pick up all our meat and dairy waste, compostable containers, pizza boxes, etc. I would love to see composting made easy and accessible to everyone and more haulers offering the service. We have so much less garbage and after composting for so many years, I can't imagine throwing all our food waste in a landfill.

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Judith Felker 5 months ago

I have a quart-size plastic container on the countertop next to the kitchen sink, where we put all our food scraps (except banana peals which we put in a plastic bag because they're so bulky). I carry both containers to a spot behind our garage (out of sight completely), and just dump them. We put leaves on the pile in the Fall. It turns into black dirt. I'm happy to do it rather than have it go to the burner or to a landfill, but It'd be easier if all the garbage haulers would provide "organic food waste pick up, like Vierkant does. Changing our garbage hauler to Vierkand would mean another truck on our street every week, unless everyone on our block would make the change to Vierkant as well. When I called to ask our hauler (SWS) to include food waste, I was told there "isn't enough demand" for that service. I agree with those who suggest the city of Edina require that service of all their licensed haulers. Better yet, I prefer Edina license just ONE garbage hauler (Vierkant) for the entire city, reducing air and noise pollution caused by the current seven (7) trucks, as well as reducing wear and tear on our streets.

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Adrienne Berman 5 months ago

Another happy Vierkant customer :) We switched to them because they offered organics pick up. Between organics and recycling, even with 5 people, we only have one garbage bag each week.

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Judith Felker 5 months ago

P.S. Our garbage hauler, SWS, "lucked out" when we became their customer. We have only one grocery bag of garbage per week (4 in the household), so instead of wheeling, picking up and dumping our cart, the SWS worker just opens the lid, takes out the bag, and throws it in the truck. The recycling bin, however, is filled to the brim by each collection day. We're proud of that.

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Jennifer Hennemuth 5 months ago

If and when I have better opportunity to garden, I will compost at home. But currently I don't, other than if I feed leftovers to my dogs :) I am only aware of Vierkant currently taking compost, but I believe my current service provider GarbageMan may also start, but not sure if they still intend to do so or when. Even so, I'm skeptical of signing up for such service as I'm not convinced people actually would compost responsibly, meaning they would pay attention to what they do compost and not try to compost what should be garbage.

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Gary Bartolett 5 months ago

I note that this discussion is centered on government's idea of the ideal society is being imposed as if it were universally accepted. I for one am tired of hearing how I must sort garbage to make the lefties in Minneapolis happy with me. There are no current barriers to organics. If you want to compost at home or hire a collector that will take them you can. I think food waste composting at home can become a feeding station for unwanted guests if not done the right way. More importantly I hate hearing what I must do to make government happy with me.

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Louann Waddick 5 months ago

We used to have a bin in the yard but we didn't maintain it well and in the winter it wasn't easily accessible. Now I take our small bag across the street to my sisters who has Vierkant. I would love if the city had drop off spots that were central located.

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Britny Aklik 5 months ago

We compost all non-meat food waste in our yard. I'm all for the city participating because the large sites usually include meats & compostable food containers too.

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Tom LaForce 5 months ago

Have always had a triple bin compost pile by the garden. Mostly fills with garden waste. Used to just add kitchen scraps in the non-snow months. Now that we picked up the green bucket from the city, we go all year. This winter I used an extra garbage can in the garage for a quick and easy way to empty kitchen container and every now and then, when I already had snow boots on, I trudged to the back and emptied that onto the pile.

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Sandy Radeke 5 months ago

I switched my garbage service to Vierkant specifically because they offered compostable service. Like some of the other who have commented, I bought a compost bin but "hid" it in a corner of the yard that is too shady for it to work well. I put "dry" compostables in a paper bag right away and leave "wet" compostables in the refrigerator until I can put them out in my bin so I don't get flies or smell. I will be stopping at City Hall for a counter top bucket. Between recycling and the organics collection, I have very little actual garbage. Separating compostables is much easier than people imagine and saves a lot of room in the landfills. I'd like to see Edina expand organics collection across the city.

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Dianne Latham 5 months ago

For food waste, on the kitchen counter, we use the free bucket with liners provided by the City of Edina. We use a compost tumbler in the backyard to convert it into compost. We also use Verkant as our yard waste hauler and we LOVE his service. The compost tumbler cannot operate during the winter months, but Vierkant picks up yard waste plus organics (food waste) throughout the year, though it is only every other week from Dec. 1 through April 1. We love being able to dispose of yard waste 12 months out of the year because it enables us to continue working in the yard in December, plus get an early start in February or March whenever the weather is warm. If there is a winter storm and many tree branches come down, we can dispose of them. The city should require all garbage haulers to provide an organics service as a condition of having a city license. Once the service is available, many more residents would use it. Many don't want to take the time to change haulers and don't realize how easy the service is to use. And if some of the haulers don't want to provide the service, no problem - with 7 haulers in Edina, we have too many haulers. So if some drop out because they don't want to pick up organics, it is not a problem. In fact, the city should have organized hauling like Bloomington so that there are fewer trucks on the road, less noise, less co2 pollution, less wear on the road, and a lower price that comes from economy of scale.

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Anne Salmen 5 months ago

When we moved to Edina, we signed up with Vierkant because they were the only trash service who offered organics recycling. We've been pleased with their service. At that time, we were new to organics recycling and unsure what to expect, but driven by a desire to reduce our family's trash output. We've been thrilled by how easy it is to compost food waste (and how many other household items are also compostable!) and what a significant effect it has had on our family's trash output. As heavy recyclers too, our trash bin is often nearly empty with only cellophane from packaging in it.

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Anne Salmen 5 months ago

When we moved to Edina, we signed up with Vierkant because they were the only trash service who offered organics recycling. We've been pleased with their service. At that time, we were new to organics recycling and unsure what to expect, but driven by a desire to reduce our family's trash output. We've been thrilled by how easy it is to compost food waste (and how many other household items are also compostable!) and what a significant effect it has had on our family's trash output. As heavy recyclers too, our trash bin is often nearly empty with only cellophane from packaging in it.

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Melissa Seeley 5 months ago

We participate in curbside organics through Vierkant. I do also have a backyard compost bin, but the curbside program accepts far more items thereby reducing the amount in our trash bin.

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