Neighborhood to recycle materials students discard

Southeast Como Improvement Association received $25,769 for its Solid Waste Reduction and Reuse Project.

Starting this fall, a project in the Southeast Como neighborhood will allow residents to reuse materials left by student renters when they move out. After four years of discussions with the city of Minneapolis, the Southeast Como Improvement AssociationâÄôs Solid Waste Reduction and Reuse Project will move forward thanks to a grant from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency that will incorporate ideas to promote environmental sustainability in the neighborhood. The $25,769 grant is aimed at reducing waste through establishing opportunities to re-use materials that student tenants discard during the move-in and move-out times throughout the school year. Like many residential areas near the University of Minnesota campus, Southeast Como Environmental Coordinator Justin Eibenholzl said it has been a unique and environmentally challenging phenomenon for the neighborhood to deal with trash burdens that pile up along the streets, but Eibenholzl hopes that will change this fall. Eibenholzl said some of the high-quality discarded items will be sold and the money will be used to help pay for the promotion of events, but other items will be available for free. The association will hire a solid waste student intern who is a resident of the Southeast Como neighborhood to help with organizing events and performing surveys to gather feedback from residents. Eibenholzl said they will provide a storage space in the Como neighborhood for left out furniture and appliances that could be re-used, but the location of this storage space is yet to be determined. He said the association will conduct surveys in the neighborhood to determine which items they will accept from tenants, but all items will have to be useable. âÄúWe are not trying to take garbage, but things like furniture and electronic devices that could be used,âÄù Eibenholzl said. SECIA President Wendy Menken expressed concerns that the grant is too small to solve the environmental problems that Como suffers from. âÄúI am little worried that the money is not robust enough to go as far as we want,âÄù Menken said. Second Ward Councilmember Cam Gordon said it is great to see the possibility of reusing the furniture and appliances that student tenants throw away. âÄúPrograms like these have helped give Como neighborhood a good reputation as one of the most ecologically conscious neighborhood groups in Minneapolis,âÄù he said. Strategic communications senior Mike Limberg said it is very helpful for the neighborhood if the association is working on finding a space to collect discarded materials, but he thinks Dinkytown has a lot more garbage piles than Como. âÄúSoutheast Como neighborhood is not too bad,âÄù Limberg said. Public relations junior Desirae Karich said she thinks the project is vitally important for environmental sustainability. Karich said because she doesnâÄôt have space to keep some of her materials, she discards stuff she may have used later.