organic waste to be accepted
Organics recycling is about to get a jumpstart.
Egg shells, egg cartons, coffee grounds, food scraps, paper towel tubes and other forms of organic waste and nonrecyclable paper will be collected next spring at seven Ramsey County yard waste sites, free of charge to county residents.
The organics recycling effort is not intended to be permanent but will serve as a bridge until cities decide whether to provide residential curbside collection themselves. County yard waste sites, which typically close in the cold weather months, would remain open in the winter to accommodate drop offs. Four of them are in St. Paul.
The estimated annual cost to Ramsey County is $55,000 for labor and operations, and another $30,000 for marketing and to provide compostable bags free to residents.
County staff say they have sufficient money to cover the program within the proposed 2014 to 2015 operating budget. They’ll now begin sorting through permits and zoning restrictions with White Bear Township, Arden Hills and Mounds View.
“We’re going to be collecting the source separated organics in separate containers, and we’d have a vendor take them to a commercial organics composting site,” said Ramsey County Environmental Health Director Zack Ha adidas predator nsen. “There’s several of those in the metropolitan area. We’ll be going out for bids to have someone collect and compost that material.”
Hansen said that municipal drop off sites for paper, soda cans and other recyclables helped jumpstart curbside collection in the 1990s, and he’s hoping to see the same evolution with organics.
To reduce odors and avoid freezing, materials would be accepted only in compostable bags marked “BPI certified.” The Ramsey County Department of Public Health plans to explore using volunteers or master gardeners to help with quality control during the busy spring and fall season.
County officials say there’s no way to tell exactly how many families will take advantage of the free organics recycling, but initial estimate is 1,200 households for the seven sites combined.
If successful, the effort could possibly be opened to small businesses that generate small volumes of waste.
Anyone who lives or works in the Macalester Groveland neighborhood has been eligible to drop off organic waste at a site on Grand Avenue between Macalester and Cambridge streets since June 2012, and the location recently opened to anyone who lives or works in St. Paul.
“We knew there was demand across St. Paul, and as soon as we had the room, we opened it up,” said Lauren Anderson, recycling and environmental coordinator for the Macalester Groveland Community Council, which organizes the drop off.
The Grand Avenue site accepts meat products, dairy products, paper towel tubes, egg cartons, wax paper and other items that aren’t necessarily suited to backyard compost bins. Co adidas predator st is $36 for a full year membership and $28 for renewals, and slightly cheaper for half adidas predator year memberships.
Waste is sent to a high heat facility in Empire Township run by Specialized Environmental Technologies, Inc. The products are “broken down into a really clean, finished compost that the public can then use in their gardens,” Anderson said. “We’re thrilled that more communities are taking it on and modeling their programs after ours.”
Municipalities are sorting out how best to comply with state mandates to separate out organic waste and reduce the amount of trash g adidas predator oing to landfills or burners, with various targets by the year 2030. St. Paul has been asking the county to consider adding organic waste collection while the city mulls its options.
“The state is essentially saying we expect organics to be separately managed into the future,” Hansen said.
St. Paul is edging toward that goal. In early 2014, the city will begin accepting a wider variety of plastics in its blue bin curbside pickup program, which is run by Eureka Recycling.
The city will soon accept plastics marked 4, 5 and 7 such as medicine bottles, yogurt tubs and clamshell fruit containers alongside longstanding recyclables such as milk gallons and pop cans, and an expanded list of plastics marked 1 and 2. Newspapers, pizza boxes and other recyclables will be collected in the same blue bin, without sorting.