Organics recyling plan requires clarification

An organics recycling program asking Minneapolis residents to separate food scraps, pet hair and other compostable material from the rest of their trash will begin this year. The new disposal option will require an annual $48 increase in solid-waste fees for every Minneapolis resident and is expected to achieve a 40 percent participation rate.

For several years, Minneapolis has been testing organics recycling via pilot programs in different neighborhoods. It has been met with varying degrees of success. The city was compelled to roll out a full composting program this year or face a loss of over $800,000 in Hennepin County funding.

While the program is a step in the right direction, it has several shortcomings in its current form. A study of current pilot programs concluded that the environmental benefit of organics recycling may be offset by the extra trucks needed to pick up the material from residences.

Additionally, the commercial sector, which produces more than half of the city’s organic waste, is excluded from the program.

Commercial buildings are the next likely focus for organics recycling, according to the Star Tribune, which would solve the problem. However, it is not clear how the city will counteract the extra emissions from a new set of trucks. While we support the idea of organics recycling, we would like to hear clear solutions to these problems from the city in order to ensure the program’s viability.