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GreenStep City Best Practices Environmental Management

Sustainable Consumption and Waste
no. 22

Increase waste prevention, reuse and recycling, moving to a lower-consumption, more cyclical, biological approach to materials management.
  Best Practice Action 1      [ 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 ]       [all actions]

Improve city operations and procurement to prevent and reuse, recycle and compost waste from all public facilities (including libraries, parks, schools, municipal health care facilities), and minimize use of toxics and generation of hazardous waste.

  • Like the food pyramid, the Minnesota waste management hierarchy quickly and visually helps us all focus on the benefits of top priority actions around solid waste - reducing it and reusing it - while showing the others (recycling/composting, energy recovery, treatment & disposal). Note the role of city purchasing policies in preventing and reducing waste.
  • Assistance in reducing waste is available from the MN Pollution Control Agency and Minnesota Waste Wise, a program of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce.
  • TRUE Zero Waste Certification is available for any physical city facility and its operations, including buildings owned by the city, schools, municipal utilities, public housing, etc. This third-part assessor-based program rates how well facilities perform in minimizing their non-hazardous, solid wastes and maximizing their efficiency in the use of resources.
  • On average, approximately 24% of the total waste generated in elementary schools is food waste. Schools pay three times for this waste: purchasing, handling, disposing. See 30 excellent, easy-to-use "take action" resource sheets for reducing this waste from the Waste Reduction Awareness Program of the Minnesota-based Jeffers Foundation. See also the Minnesota School Recycling Toolkit, (MPCA, Recycling Association of Minnesota: 2011) developed in consultation with counties and schools that have successfully developed or improved school recycling programs. The Toolkit is geared toward school staff and administrators as well as cities interested in increasing recycling in school districts within the city.
Measure/audit waste generated; adopt goals for reducing the generation of overall solid waste; goals for diverting a percentage of overall solid waste into recycling or compostables collection; goals for specific waste streams such as public works waste, disposable cafeteria ware, waste from parks. Note that some cities entered, before 2018, completion of this action under action 22.2
Describe actions taken, such as refurbishing office equipment, reusing building materials, increasing e-commerce, getting off junk mail lists, collecting organic material and beverage containers from parks.
Report measures that show goals were met by the reduced amount of waste generated, the increased amount of waste diverted into recycling and compostables collection.

Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe

Date action report first entered:   04/16/2015
Date of last report update:   04/16/2015

Implementation details:
Composting projects throughout the reservation have created a 25% reduction in the waste stream.

For more information contact:
Brandy Toft (City staff)   |   air@lldrm.org   |   218-335-7429

View All Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Actions


Date action report first entered:   10/10/2012

Implementation details:
The City tracks waste from refuse, recycling and organics generated from the seven Hopkins facilities. The City completed a waste audit of these facilities in the fall of 2010 which is uploaded here.The City has a policy that all cafeteria ware be compostable.Products are purchased in bulk and distributed as requested.The City recently acquired a building that is to be demolished and redeveloped. Public Works staff harvested all usable material such as cabinets, counter tops, sinks, plumbing and electrical fixtures to be re purposed within the City facilities. Through the City’s web site many services can be ordered electronically. Residents can apply for building permits, request a new refuse cart and report pot holes.These are just a few examples of the many services available to be applied for or requested online. In addition residents may also pay their utility bills by signing up for monthly EFT. All payroll for the City is delivered electronically to employee accounts.

Outcome measures/metrics:
(a)It was concluded that 69.15% of total material collected was recycled or organic.

Descriptive links: http://www.hopkinsmn.com/development/plan/pdf/10-solid-waste-plan.pdf             view file

For more information contact:
Pam Hove (City staff)   |   Phove@hopkinsmn.com   |   952-548-6351

View All Hopkins Actions


Date action report first entered:   04/10/2014

Implementation details:
In 2010, the city of Minnetonka received a Waste Abatement Incentive Fund Grant to implement a community facilities organics collection program. The program included a three-phase approach. The first phase introduced the program to one area of the city’s community center where food is served; phase two introduced the program to all areas of city hall including the employee lunch rooms and all restrooms; phase three further expanded the program to all areas of the community center including the banquet center for events with up to 250 guests. In addition to providing the collection containers, the city converted all stock of plates, cups, napkins, paper towels and utensils to compostable materials allowed in organics collection. By 2012, organics collection had expanded to the Minnetonka Summer Festival. This festival is a single-day community event that attracts an average of 10,000 people annually. In addition to the organics program, the city is working to reduce paper waste. The city now offers all water and sewer billing to be paid online or with automatic payments. This reduces the amount of paper being sent out to residents. The city gives a purchasing preference to products with recycled contents, such as calendars for the inspectors made with recycled paper.

Outcome measures/metrics:
The city continues to utilize the organics collection program in all of the program areas; however, the city has not continued to weigh the collected organic material. During the 781 days of the community facilities organics collection program the city had collected over 65,000 gallons of organics material. Interestingly only 27 gallons of organics material was collected during the first week. By the end of the program the average collection per day averaged about 85 gallons. The recorded collections for the Minnetonka Summer Festival were 2,800 gallons in 2011 and 4,300 gallons in 2012.

For more information contact:
Drew Ingvalson (City staff)   |   dingvalson@eminnetonka.com   |   952-939-8293

View All Minnetonka Actions

Saint Paul

Date action report first entered:   12/23/2014
Date of last report update:   12/23/2014

Implementation details:
In March, 2014, the City of Saint Paul established solid waste diversion goals for the city. In an effort to reinvigorate participation, educate the community about all opportunities to reduce waste, recycle more and divert organic materials from the waste stream the City of Saint Paul establishes an overall residential waste diversion goal of: • 35% by 2016 • 50% by 2020, • 65% by 2025, and • 80% by 2030. In addition, in order to reach the newly established goals the City will: • Ensure all residents have convenient access to recycle a broad range of materials where they live; • Ensure recycling requirements are being met at events, parades, races and public assemblies; • Improve opportunities to reduce waste; • Improve opportunities to reuse and recycle bulky items such as appliances, e-waste, and construction debris in an environmentally preferable manner; • Increase significantly opportunities to divert organic materials from the waste stream, including moving toward collection of organic material by 2017; • Increase public space recycling opportunities within parks, right of ways, athletic complexes, entertainment centers and sporting venues; • Support efforts to address extended producer responsibility; • Ensure diversion requirements are being met for construction, demolition and deconstruction project; • Support and encourage waste diversion initiatives within the commercial sector. See the full resolution at: https://stpaul.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=1685118&GUID=7AA236BF-7A51-465C-B514-B2DA2B7A8FCB

For more information contact:
Kurt Schultz (City staff)   |   kurt.schultz@ci.stpaul.mn.us   |   651-266-6590

View All Saint Paul Actions


Date action report first entered:   02/23/2015
Date of last report update:   02/23/2015

Implementation details:
The city of Sartell offers residents the option of paying their water bills online eliminating any paper payments. The City also has all of its applications online through a fillable PDF file. For some applications the applicant can submit their application to the appropriate person via online/email. The city is currently looking at other ways to eliminate any paper waste like paperless packets. Whenever the city buys new park benches it purchases benches made of 100% recycled material. Recently the city offers residents the ability to report any issue (zoning, building, pot holes, street lights out) via online through a system called "See Click Fix". This system eliminates any paper reports. All city staff are paid by direct deposit eliminating paper checks. Schools located in the Sartell/St. Stephen school district have lessened their waste generated dramatically by: recycling all leftover foods from student trays and scrapes from the kitchen into 55 gallon barrels. The barrels are picked up weekly by a hog farming operation in St. Francis. The schools also recycle tin cans and card board along with plastic containers and aluminum cans. Very rarely are paper disposable items used at the schools. The schools utilize washable lunch trays and silverware if disposable material needs to be used. The schools make sure they use all biodegradable products.

For more information contact:
Nate Keller (City staff)   |   nate.keller@sartellmn.com   |   320-258-7316

View All Sartell Actions


Date action report first entered:   11/01/2017
Date of last report update:   11/01/2017
Year action initially completed:   2017
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   Yes

Implementation details:
1 Star -Developing and implementing its curbside recycling program -Measured waste generated by surveying the public about their garbage habits -Curbside city-wide single stream recycling program would reduce the generation of overall solid waste and divert a percentage of that waste into recycling or compostable collection. 2 Star -City has stopped buying and using disposable paper products and Styrofoam in all of its buildings -Reusing materials donated from UND to use for the construction of the community center -Changed a majority of its operations to better incorporate electronic access to documents to reduce the amount of paper waste

            view file

For more information contact:
Shannon Mortenson (City staff)   |   shannonm@warrenminnesota.com   |   218-745-5343

View All Warren Actions

West Saint Paul

Date action report first entered:   01/23/2019
Date of last report update:   01/23/2019
Year action initially completed:   2018
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   Yes

Implementation details:
City of West St. Paul City Hall building participates in organics collection. Food waste and BPI certified compostable paper products are source separated and contracted to be brought to SET/The Mulch Store for composting, there by reducing the amount of material destined for incineration or landfill.

For more information contact:
Cassandra Schueller (City staff)   |   cschueller@wspmn.gov   |   16515524118

View All West Saint Paul Actions

Elko New Market

Date action report first entered:   12/28/2015
Date of last report update:   04/27/2018
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   Yes

Implementation details:
The City of Elko New Market has in place means for the audit and measurement of solid waste as well as set goals for the reducing the generation of overall solid waste and recyclable materials. There are 3 licensed haulers in the city and they are required to report a tonnage summary to the city 2x per year. Also, there is a large item recycling day for residents that occurs once per year. Thus, the audit and measurements of waste generated already occurs. In order to further reduce waste generated, the city has a residential and public spaces recycling program and has actively encouraged the refurbishment of any usable office equipment or furniture as well as reusing building materials wherever possible and increasing electronic communications while discouraging junk mail and other wasteful uses of technology such as any non-professional social media activity. In July, 2017, the City began recycling in all City parks, as well as all public buildings, through a grant from Scott County. This project was the subject of an article by the Minnesota Waste Wise Foundation.

Outcome measures/metrics:
In the first 6 months, over 1,100 lbs of materials have been recycled and it is expected that the total should reach 2,200 lbs in 2018.

Descriptive links: http://www.ci.enm.mn.us

For more information contact:
Mark Nagel (City staff)   |   mnagel@ci.enm.mn.us   |   952-461-2777

Lakeville (Dick's) Sanitation, Waste Management, Buckingham Disposal

View All Elko New Market Actions

Fergus Falls

Date action report first entered:   01/14/2016
Date of last report update:   01/14/2016

Implementation details:
The City of Fergus Falls and Otter Tail County are working together to increase local recycling efforts. M-State is implementing curbside recycling with the city at college housing.

For more information contact:
Len Taylor (City staff)   |   len.taylor@ci.fergus-falls.mn.us   |   218-332-5418

Otter Tail County

View All Fergus Falls Actions

Grand Rapids

Date action report first entered:   01/03/2013

Implementation details:
The City of Grand Rapids has gone to paperless agenda packets for the City Council and Planning Commission. The Legistar software was purchased in an effort to reduce the amount of paper used to create agenda packets. The packets are all generated electroniclly and emailed out to the City Council and Planning Commission. The hope is to eventually have all City Boards and Commissions using the Legistar software.

View All Grand Rapids Actions


Date action report first entered:   04/27/2016
Date of last report update:   04/27/2016

Implementation details:
Dakota County Solid Waste Ordinance 110 requires each municipality in the Dakota County to have a solid waste abatement program that is consistent with the Dakota County Solid Waste Master Plan. The City of Hastings has The Community Funding Program Grant and the primary purposes are to: ensure that residents have the opportunity to recycle; and to develop, implement, and maintain projects, programs, practices, and methods to meet waste abatement objectives as described in the Master Plan. The Municipality has a goal to reduce waste by 4-6% and recycling/composting 75% of waste by 2030. Through the Community Funding Program with Dakota County, municipalities receive funding to ensure recycling opportunities exist for residents and in public spaces that the municipality has control over including our city of Hastings parks, buildings, and city-sponsored events. Currently recycling opportunities exists in 35 city parks and athletic areas. The primary city-sponsored event, Rivertown Days, held in July which welcomes 18,000-20,000 residents, provides recycling containers next to every trash container.

For more information contact:
Paige Marschall (City staff)   |   pmarschall@hastingsmn.gov   |   651-480-6182

View All Hastings Actions

La Prairie

Date action report first entered:   12/15/2015
Date of last report update:   12/15/2015

Implementation details:
12/15/2015 Instituted a recycling center at city hall to accommodate the recycling of small electronics, printers, batteries etc.

View All La Prairie Actions


Date action report first entered:   01/10/2019
Date of last report update:   01/28/2019
Year action initially completed:   2003
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   No

Implementation details:
The Urban Wildland Half Marathon & 5K was founded in 2003 to save the partnership between Wood Lake Nature Center and the Richfield Public Schools to provide environmental education curriculum to the student. The race itself has become an opportunity to demonstrate environmentally-friendly practices to all 1,550 participants and the rest of the community present at the event. All materials are either recyclable, reusable, or compostable (cups, napkins), most of the food served at the event is organic, and every aspect of the race has been considered in an effort to leave a gentle footprint on the environment. Wood Lake Nature Center's common practice is to compost all paper towels and use compostable products only when reusable ones are not an option.

Descriptive links: http://www.urbanwildland.com/Green.htm

For more information contact:
Karen Shragg (City staff)   |   kshragg@richfieldmn.gov   |   612-861-9366

View All Richfield Actions

Mahtomedi pending

Date action report first entered:   02/01/2013

Implementation details:
The City recently began offering residents the opportunity to view and pay utility bills online, reducing the total amount of paper used.

For more information contact:
Scott Neilson (City staff)   |   sneilson@ci.mahtomedi.mn.us   |   651-426-3344

View All Mahtomedi Actions

pending means a star rating has not yet been assigned to this city

greenstep advisor
Tim Farnan, Waste Prevention Specialist, MN Pollution Control Agency: 651/757-2348, timothy.farnan@state.mn.us, http://www.pca.state.mn.us/ktqh87d