Como area tests Technotrash Can

Minneapolis residents who request recycling bins earn a $7 credit off their trash costs.

Angela Gray

The Southeast Como Improvement Association has made it possible for residents and businesses to dispose of small electronic equipment for no charge.

The GreenDisk Technotrash Can at the association’s office at 837 15th Ave. S.E., is a collection box specially made for disposal of electronics including printer cartridges, cell phones, pagers, CDs, DVDs, audiotapes, rechargeable batteries, laptops and desktop computers.

James De Sota, the Southeast Como Improvement Association’s neighborhood coordinator, said the association wanted to use the Technotrash Can because a lot of the electronics people dispose of end up in a landfill or burned in the city incinerator.

The recycling project is a pilot project open only to Southeast Como residents as of now, he said.

“We will see if it is a good resource for the community to have and then decide whether to continue the project,” De Sota said.

Once the can is full, GreenDisk comes to collect the technotrash, said Jennifer Lee, a Southeast Como Improvement Association staff member.

According to its Web site, GreenDisk then recycles the material to create its recycled line of office supplies.

On top of the Technotrash venture, the association is looking at other recycling projects.

De Sota said the association’s environmental coordinator, Justin Eibenholzl, is working with the Rock-Tenn Company in St. Paul, exploring pilot recycling projects with construction and wood waste.

Most recycling and waste disposal systems are instituted by the city, De Sota said.

Minneapolis solid waste and recycling program assistant Judy Brown said the city requires all houses or apartment buildings with four units or fewer to use waste and recycling services.

However, some property owners decide to contract privately through other waste and recycling companies, Brown said.

Minneapolis has an ordinance that requires all landlords to offer recycling to their tenants – although not everyone has to recycle.

From there on “it is between landlords and tenants,” she said, although many landlords are in control of their tenants’ waste disposal.

“Some landlords pay the utility bills, which includes the trash disposal with or without the option of recycling,” she said. “Others require their tenants to pay for their own utilities, again, with or without the option of recycling.”

Brown said the city adopted a credit system for people who want to recycle.

The base rate for waste disposal Minneapolis residents pay is $22.25 per month, and if they request a bin for recycling they earn a $7 credit.

“The city wanted to have the credit system to get people to participate in recycling,” she said.

The credit system started as a pilot project in 1989 and since has shown a high participation rate, she said.

Lucy Stark, an English senior, said she chose to have recycling bins because she has to pay for waste disposal.

“It’s in our (housemates’) best interest, and we get a credit,” she said.

Stark said her previous landlord asked the tenants to recycle because of the credit as well.

“We end up having a lot of garbage, and I feel it is important that we recycle it,” she said.