MPCA sets goal of reducing Twin Cities waste by 15% over 20 years
State environmental officials have released a new plan focused on fighting a trash problem in the Twin Cities.
As part of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) Metro Solid Waste Policy Plan, the goal is for the Twin Cities to reduce the total amount of waste created by 15% over the next 20 years. Officials say that target was raised from 5% after feedback from many Minnesotans.
A draft plan created last summer received more than 200 comments from residents and business owners to help shape the final recommendation.
The finalized plan also includes 70 recommendations for improving the Twin Cities metro area’s waste problem, such as strategies to support recycling and composting in multi-family housing, curbside compost collection and ways for grocery stores, restaurants and food processors to cut down on food waste.
The MPCA also offered some advice for individuals to make an impact and reduce waste, like buying used when possible, extending the lifetime of household items, clothes and other products, working more reusable products into daily routines and committing to composting.
“We listened to cities, counties, businesses, and residents to develop a plan that will cut pollution by making reducing waste, reusing goods, and recycling more convenient,” said Kirk Koudelka, assistant commissioner for land policy and strategic initiatives at the MPCA. “These goals are ambitious. We’re committed to changing our systems to meet them. But we also need every resident of the Twin Cities to commit to better choices as well.”
Agency officials say they’ll work with county governments over the next nine months to create individual plans to meet the goals of the Metro Solid Waste Policy Plan.
According to the MPCA, the Twin Cities metro area creates almost 3.3 million tons of waste each year, and more than two-thirds of the trash currently ending up in landfills could be recycled or reused. At its current pace, the agency projects that number to grow 19% by 2042 while the metro area’s recyling rate was only at 49% last year, far below the state’s 75% goal by 2030.