Hennepin County to Consider Organics Recycling Ordinance
Aluminum cans and plastic bottles are what most of us recycle. But Hennepin County is hoping businesses will start recycling organic waste as well. They are hoping business will do so by enacting a new county ordinance.
“Organics compostable materials are, food or food scraps certified compostable products,” says Ben Knudson a recycling specialist with Hennepin County. “There are a few materials that can’t go in your recycling, however they can be composted. Examples of those are napkins and paper towels.”
Those are examples of organic waste. They are everyday items many of us send to the landfill.
“One of the biggest negative effects of landfills is emissions of greenhouse gases,” added Knudson. “Food waste is a huge problem in landfills.”
Plymouth Business Serves as Example
Thirty percent of the waste in dumpsters comes from organic waste. That number inspired Hennepin County to take action.
“The ordinance will require certain businesses to recycle food and food scraps from the back of house so the kitchen,” says Knudson. “It will require cities to make sure residents can sign up and participate in organics if they want to.”
One business in Plymouth has been recycling organics for two years.
“We met with a lot of the owner operators almost three years ago,” says David Rech, owner and operator of Culver’s in Plymouth. “All of us knew this was coming and how we need to look at doing it. We felt this was going to be the right thing for us to do as a business.”
The ordinance will only require businesses to recycle organic waste that comes out of their kitchen area. However, the Culver’s owned by Rech also recycles the organic waste of customers as well.
“When we first started we would keep two people out here in our dining room to make sure that everyone was helping our customers,” added Rech.
The ordinance would also require cities to make organics recycling available to its residents. Something David Rech hopes people are inspired to do when they eat at his restaurant.
“It’s the right thing to do,” says Rech. “As we say here at Culver’s we are saving the world one trey and at a time.”
Hennepin County is working with stakeholders to get the ordinance passed. There’s no scheduled date yet when the Hennepin County Board will take up the matter.