Commercial Recycling Ordinance Passes
The commercial recycling ordinance that passed committee last week passed the full Council unanimously this morning.
I view this as a significant victory, and a step toward a greener, less wasteful city. For the first time, all buildings in Minneapolis - every residence, and every business - will be required by law to have recycling service. This sends the message to all Minneapolis communities that recycling is simply the way that we deal with waste.
It also makes clear to me that there is broad consensus around greening our homes and businesses. It's not often that groups as diverse as the Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce on the one hand and the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group and Sierra Club on the other agree on a policy change, but they agreed that it's time for all businesses in Minneapolis to have recycling service. This gives me great hope and energy for moving forward other sustainability initiatives.
Specifically, I am interested in continuing to explore ways that we can more sustainably handle solid waste. I will be excited to see the results of the dual-stream recycling pilot in the Seward neighborhood. The theory is that making it easier for residents to recycle will increase the diversion rate. If the results bear that out, I think we should seriously consider changing our citywide recycling regime. I'm also very interested in continuing to expand curbside organics collection, and finding ways to increase the composting capacity of the region so that we can offer that service citywide.
Over the coming months, I will be working with City and County staff to build a robust technical assistance program that we can offer to the few businesses who do not currently recycle, along with educational materials for tenants and employees. This has to be in place before we can begin enforcing the new mandate.
Thanks to all those who made this possible: Director of Solid Waste and Recycling Susan Young, Sustainability Director Gayle Prest, Travis Bunch from the Minneapolis Chamber, Adam Leusse, Josh Winters, Dakotah Johnson and all the others at MPIRG.