Best Practice Action Detail

Best Practice Action 15.7

GreenStep City Best Practices: Environmental Management
Sustainable Purchasing No. 15

Adopt environmentally preferable purchasing policies and practices to improve health and environmental outcomes.

Best Practice Action 7

Lower the environmental footprint of meetings and events in the city.

  • The MPCA green meetings page provides extensive guidance, checklists, case studies and directories in the areas of food, venue, waste and recycling, waste reduction, resource and energy use, travel and transportation, and construction and deconstruction.
  • For example, in Duluth, just about every event at a community hall, public place, park or business with 100 or more guests is required to have recycling bins available alongside garbage cans. And in the Three Rivers Park District in Hennepin County, specific green gatherings practices are required for those renting designated facilities.
  • A related but vastly more powerful 'footprint-lowering' policy is internal carbon fees whereby city operations (vehicle fleet, buildings, drinking water plant, etc.) pay into a city energy-efficiency fund the carbon cost of their emissmions, and each operation also pays lower fees when they cut emissions.
1 star Adopt a policy or adopt practices for meetings and events hosted by city government addressing issues such as solid waste generated (e.g., paperless city council packets), transit/carpooling to meetings/events, hosting at buildings with EV chargers. This could include distributing educational materials about holding a no-waste event for use at city-supported events such as National Night Out / Night to Unite. Report broader multi-topic educational material distributed at events under action 24.4
2 star Have a policy for meetings and events taking place on city property, including parks and libraries; include healthy/local/organic food elements.
3 star Work with at least the largest private venue in the city (such as a conference center) to cut waste generation by at least 1/3, to increase recycling by at least 1/3, to install publicly available EV chargers (powered by solar carports); adopt internal departmental carbon fees.

Who's doing it

Cottage Grove - 2 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Use of Ipads for Council and Commission packets instead of printing copies as well as making packets available online to others was implemented on April 20, 2011. On January 27, 2012 a report was complied of the savings. Instead of printing 18 packet paper copies, only 2 paper copies are printed for each meeting. This is a savings of approximately $752. When including opportunity cost, where it is beleived the biggest savings have occured, savings equal approximately $3,068.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Ryan Burfeind (City staff) | rburfeind@cottage-grove.org | 651-458-2899
Partners:
Marshall - 2 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Tour de Kota bicycle event hosted nearly 400 bicyclists in June 2012 and was our first GreenStep City event. Marshall City Council meetings have adopted a paper-less meeting program.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Implemented the following green practices:
-Refilling water stations eliminated plastic bottles.
-Reduced printed material by developing a weblink and the use of QR codes for smartphones.
-Recycling and waste stations located throughout campground.
-Reusable signs for future events.
-Posted event schedules vs. printed handouts.
Marshall City Council meetings have lowered their environmental footprint by going paperless.
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Tom Hoff (Contractor) | Tom.Hoff@swsc.org | 507-537-2271
Partners: Marshall Chamber of Commerce, Visitors and Conventions Bureau, Marshall Public Schools, Public Safety
Newport - 2 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2012
Implementation details:
In 2012, the City purchased iPads for the City Council and Planning Commission members to use during meetings instead of printing out paper copies. Additionally, the City started emailing packets for the Park Board and Library Advisory Committee meetings and placing packets for all meetings online. This resulted in a savings of about $18,000 between 2012 and 2016 given that staff did not have to print several packets or deliver them.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Deb Schulz (City staff) | dschulz@newportmn.com | 651-459-5677
Partners:
Roseville - 2 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The city has been involved in planning "no waste" events. The Living Smarter fair is one example.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Ryan Johnson (City staff) | Ryan.johnson@cityofroseville.com | 651-792-7049
Partners:
Saint Paul - 2 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The Saint Paul City Council is paperless. The agendas and Council files are all available on the Web. Councilmembers use iPads to review the files during the meeting. Using the iPad greatly reduces costs since most agendas, including the documents attached to files, are over 1000 pages when printed.

All events held at public facilities in Saint Paul are required by Ordinance 13-62 to have recycling and are encouraged to collect organics for recycling.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Ana Vang (City staff) | ana.vang@ci.stpaul.mn.us | 651-266-8536
Partners:
South Saint Paul - 2 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2018
Implementation details:
“The City of South St. Paul collects organics at City Hall for composting, and supplies compostable flatware in lunch rooms for employees. Large city events involving food have, and continue to use, compostable flatware to make the event more “green.” In addition, Organics collection had been present at “On The Road Again” in 2017 and 2018, offsetting the trash produced during the event.” In addition, other Community events has "gone green" and compostable (ie, Fill the Backpack Taco feed - all compostable, City Ribbon Cutting events - compostable items are used). At the Kaposia Days Parade, a group of youth is the Green Team and collects and sorts items from the parade goers and over 1/2 of the items were recycled instead of being placed in the landfill. When planning the events now. Going green is the norm. it is becoming the norm!
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Kaposia Days Parade: 31 bags of items collected - 17 were recycled
Annual Taco Feed: All items were recycled or composted
On the Road Again 2017 105 pounds of compostable items and 2018 85 pounds of composable items.
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Deb Griffith (City staff) | dgriffith@southstpaul.org | 651-554-3230
Partners: On the Road Again Committee, Kaposia Days Committee, Mispah Lodge #191, the Croatian Hall
Albert Lea - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2013
Implementation details:
The City of Albert Lea purchased iPads for its Councilors in 2013. Since then, the City no longer printed the council packets for the meetings. Packets are distributed via Dropbox.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
The City Counil is made up of six Councilors and a Mayor. Seven council packets, usually of 60 pages each, are no longer printed for a meeting that occurs twice a month. This eliminates roughly 10,000 sheets of paper from being printed every year.
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Jerry Gabrielatos (City staff) | jgabrielatos@ci.albertlea.mn.us | 507-377-4316
Partners:
Arlington - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The City Council has budgeted $3,800 for 2016 to move to a paperless meeting process. They would receive their packets for meetings electronically and view the information on iPads, instead of having printed copies. City staff and Council make a concerted effort to carpool to meetings and conferences whenever possible. With the City's recent copier lease, staff now has the capability to fax electronically without paper.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Annie Shotliff (City staff) | ashotliff@arlingtonmn.com | 507-964-2378
Partners:
Austin - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
City has hosted for the past 3 years an annual event called Re-Fest. A regional event hosted by Austin, Owatonna & Rochestor Public Utilities.  The Nature Center & Renewable Energy Programs at Riverland Community College.  Educational programs emphasizing energy conservation rebates, renewable energy, recycling, Green Step Cities are but a few of the educational programs offered. Free compact flourescent light bulbls are handed out, a green sound stage that uses solar power to power the sound system for entertainment is there. In 2011 six semi-loads of electronics were recycled at this event.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Janet Anderson (Community volunteer) | janetanderson2840@gmail.com | 5072190680
Partners: Nature Center, Riverland Community College
Belle Plaine - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 1997
Implementation details:
Packets for appointed boards, committees, and commissions are distributed electronically and are only printed upon request of individual appointees. The City is reviewing updates to the Council Chambers which include proposed technology updates which includes acquisition of tablets for use at the diaz. The Council Chambers updates are proposed for 2018. Additionally, the City hosts an annual recycling day event in April. Residents are allowed to bring electronics, appliances, tires, aluminum, metal, etc. to the one-day event for recycling. Additional information is available upon request.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Laura Blue (City staff) | lblue@ci.belleplaine.mn.us | 952-873-5553
Partners:
Bemidji - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Practice 15, Step 7:City Council and City Manager have adopted a paperless meeting practice by receiving their agenda and packet electronically and viewing it by an IPAD supplied by the City.Implemented January 2013
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Michelle Miller (City staff) | michelle.miller@ci.bemidji.mn.us | 218-759-3561
Partners:
Bloomington - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2016
Implementation details:
City Council and city boards and commissions use online meeting notifications and delivery systems for minutes and other agenda documents.

The City is developing more online forms for residents to use when doing business to reduce paper.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Steve Gurney (City staff) | sgurney@BloomingtonMN.gov | 952-563-4606
Partners:
Burnsville - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Burnsville distributed recycling and green tips for party organizers of Night to Unite in August of 2012 and will continue to distribute them for the upcoming year. Offered recycling “X-Frames” to Night to Unite block party organizers and several organizers used the containers at their parties.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
Sue Bast (City staff) | basts@ci.burnsville.mn.us | 952-895-4524
Partners:
Crystal - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
City councilmembers have the option of paperless Council meeting agendas and most city staff receive electronic meeting agendas and meeting packets. With recent changes to HVAC valves, Conference Room thermostats now have sensors for when a room is occupied and needs heating and cooling.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Anne Norris (City staff) | Anne.Norris@crystalmn.gov | 763-531-1140
Partners:
Eden Prairie - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The City Council, Conservation Commission, and Heritage Preservation Commission, Flying Cloud Airport Commission all receive "paperless" packets for meetings. Agendas, minutes, and associated meeting material is sent by email. City Council packets are also published online for the public to view.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Tania Mahtani (City staff) | tmahtani@edenprairie.org | 952-949-8413
Partners:
Elk River - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
We distribute educational materials with energy-saving tips at our annual Energy Expo. Each year we distribute reusable compostable bags at Fright Night around Halloween with information about reducing solid waste.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Amanda Bednar (City staff) | ABednar@ElkRiverMN.gov | 763-635-1068
Partners:
Falcon Heights - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The City of Falcon Heights hosts several community-wide events each year (Ice Cream Social in July, National Night Out, Winterfest in January, Spring Together in May, and at each event we distribute information about city programs. Information we distribute often includes stormwater programs, "50 environmental tips", city rebate program on Energy Star purchases, and other environmentally friendly programs.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Justin Markon (City staff) | justin.markon@falconheights.org | 651-792-7600
Partners:
Farmington - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The City of Farmington transitioned to paperless city council meetings in 2011.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
The city estimates that it has eliminated over 162,000 copies being made for city council meetings over the past five years.
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
David McKnight (City staff) | dmcknight@ci.farmington.mn.us | 651-280-6801
Partners:
Fergus Falls - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
M-State is recycling three items at athletic events. Otter Tail County has portable recycling bins that are loaned to civic organizations at no charge. The county has suggested removing Styrofoam from meetings. The city will be providing recycling containers for large community events such as SummerFest and the weekly Concerts in the Park. The City of Fergus Falls uses paperless agenda packets for all council and committee meetings.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Len Taylor (City staff) | len.taylor@ci.fergus-falls.mn.us | 218-332-5418
Partners: Otter Tail County
La Crescent - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2017
Implementation details:
City Council meetings are transitioning to paperless city council packets as well as planning commission meetings. This change is being implemented with a $10,000 budget line in the 2017 budget.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
This will and has decreased our paper usage and allowed for less resources to be expelled in delivering city council and planning commission packets to members.
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Angie Boettcher (City staff) | ABoettcher@cityoflacrescent-mn.gov | (507) 895-2224
Partners:
Lake Elmo - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
In June of 2017, the Council adopted a paperless city council packet policy to reduce the environmental footprint of these meetings.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
Jake Foster (City staff) | jfoster@lakeelmo.org | 651-747-3908
Partners:
Maplewood - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The Environmental purchasing policy adopted on April 20,2011 has guidelines and suggestions for holding sustainable meetings and events including not using plastic and foam utensils and wares.

The city also has purchased pop up recycling bins that can be distributed for events and meetings.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Shann Finwall (City staff) | shann.finwall@maplewoodmn.gov | 651-249-2304
Partners:
Minnetonka - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The city of Minnetonka boards and commissions went to paperless agendas in April of 2001. Recently, the computers were converted to iPads in 2013.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Drew Ingvalson (City staff) | dingvalson@eminnetonka.com | 952-939-8293
Partners:
New Hope - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2015
Implementation details:
Members of the New Hope City Council now get packets for meetings electronically and view the information on iPads, instead of having printed copies. City staff carpools to meetings whenever possible. City staff also now has the capability to fax electronically without paper. (7)    Lower the environmental footprint of meetings and events in the city. N/A Members of the New Hope City Council now get packets for meetings electronically and view the information on iPads, instead of print copies. City staff carpools to meetings whenever possible. City staff also now has the capability to fax electronically without paper. In 2017, the city discontinued using styrofoam coffee cups.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Jeff Alger (City staff) | jalger@ci.new-hope.mn.us | 763-531-5119
Partners:
North Branch - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
100% paperless Agenda/Minutes/Video for all City Meetings through cloud based technology infrastructure implementation.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Ragini Varma (City staff) | raginiv@ci.north-branch.mn.us | 651-277-5228
Partners:
Pierz - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2014
Implementation details:
The City Council decided in August 2014 to purchase tablets to be used by council members and department heads during city council meetings.In 2019 we upgraded the tablets, allowing council members the ability to work off their tablets even more further reducing the need for paper.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
The city had been printing out council packets, which were typically 10-30 pages each. The council packets were distributed to the mayor, 4 council members, treasurer, city administrator, police chief, public works director, parks superintendent, and the police chief. So by purchasing the tablets, the city is saving around 100-300 sheets of paper biweekly.
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Kari Tyson (City staff) | karit@pierzmn.org | 320-468-6471
Partners:
Rogers - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
One practice that the City has adopted recently to lower the environmental footprint of meetings is to eliminate paper packets for City Council meetings. The council members have all elected to only receive an electronic copy of the Council Packets for each meeting.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Mike Bauer (City staff) | mbauer@ci.rogers.mn.us | 763-428-1033
Partners:
Royalton - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Royalton City Council approved the purchase of tablets for the Council and Planning & Zoning to enable both groups to go paperless for their meetings.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Time saved by staff is three hours per month just for collating the member packets. Several reams of paper per year saved so there is a positive impact on the budget.
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Partners:
Saint Anthony - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The City of St. Anthony is centrally located and as such hosts a variety of educational opportunities for municipal and watershed programs.
The City hosts all staff educational programs at a central location.
The City distributes materials for and hosts a minimum of 25 block parties for National Night to Unite.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Reduced travel times, distances, and fuel consumption.
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Jay Hartman (City staff) | jay.hartman@ci.saint-anthony.mn.us | 612-782-3314
Partners:
Saint Louis Park - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Since 2010, the City of St. Louis Park has been implementing zero waste events and meetings, such as City Open Houses, Westwood Hills Nature Center Annual Halloween program and many internal meetings.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
We measure the amoung of garbage (waste)at each zero waste event.
The number of zero waste events we hold - increasing each year.
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
Shannon Hansen (City staff) | shansen@stlouispark.org | 952-924-2183
Partners: Eureka Recycling, Hennepin County, State of MN
Saint Paul Park - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
All regular meetings of the City Council and Planning Commission are broadcast live on cable television on Government Access Channel 16. These meetings are also repeated at regularly scheduled times and can be viewed over the internet. The City also posts agendas and meeting minutes on its website
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
By televising meetings, it allows residents to be able to view meetings from home without having to drive to city hall. Posting agendas and minutes online allows residents to be able to view these documents on electronic devices, reducing the number of paper copies needed.
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Kevin Walsh (City staff) | kwalsh@stpaulpark.org | 651-459-9785
Partners:
Sartell - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The City Council utilizes Ipads for Council meetings instead of paper packets.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Nate Keller (City staff) | nate.keller@sartellmn.com | 320-258-7316
Partners:
Sauk Rapids - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The city council now uses iPads for meetings instead of receiving paper packets. Staff no longer gets full paper packets.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Marilyn Patterson (Community volunteer) | mpp03@charter.net | 320-258-5300
Partners:
Scandia - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2014
Implementation details:
The City purchased tablets for use by the Council, Planning Commission, and other Committees at public meetings. Meeting packets are distributed by posting into Dropbox for review in advance of meetings.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Neil Soltis (City staff) | n.soltis@ci.scandia.mn.us | 651-433-2274
Partners:
Sherburn - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2017
Implementation details:
In February of 2017, the City Council voted to purchase tablets for the members so that council packets were sent all the members and staff. Two copies are made for staff and official record. In addition, all incoming faxes are delivered to staff emails.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Kym Christiansen (City staff) | kym.christiansen@cityofsherburn.com | 507-764-4491
Partners:
Victoria - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The City has reduced the use of paper at meetings by providing staff and elected officials iPads. City Council Agenda packets can range from 20 pages to more than 200 pages. Without having to print copies of the agendas the City had been able to reduce it's environmental footprint.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Partners:
Warren - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2014
Implementation details:
1 Star
-Warren eliminated the use of disposable materials such as non-bathroom paper products and Styrofoam from its city hall and shop buildings.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
Shannon Mortenson (City staff) | shannonm@warrenminnesota.com | 218-745-5343
Partners:
West Saint Paul - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2015
Implementation details:
The City has adopted multiple practices to reduce it's environmental footprint at City meetings and within City Hall. Meetings are all completely paperless, with agenda packets sent electronically to committee members and using computers or projectors at meetings to access agenda materials. The City also uses only compostable products at meetings and in employee break areas.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Cassandra Schueller (City staff) | cschueller@wspmn.gov | 16515524118
Partners: Dakota County
Willmar - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The City of Willmar has adopted the practice of using I-pads and Tablets for the distribution of meeting notes. These meetings include but are not limited to: City Council Meetings, Community Development Committee Meetings, Finance Committee Meetings, Labor Relations Committee Meetings, and Public Work/ Public Safety Committee Meetings.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
The city has reduced the amount of paper it uses each month by hundreds and annually by thousands of sheets of paper, associated ink and volume of waste.
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Sara Jacobson (City staff) | sjacobson@willmarmn.gov | 320-235-4760
Partners:
Woodbury - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The city’s practice is to avoid the use of plastic or Styrofoam plates or cups at city meetings and events. If a catering company is unable to abide by these guidelines, it is the city’s practice to provide plates and cups for the event. The EPP that is being developed will address this issue at a policy level.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Jennifer McLoughlin (City staff) | jmcloughlin@ci.woodbury.mn.us | 651-714-3522
Partners:
Duluth - Pending
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2010
Implementation details:
The Duluth City Council utilizes online agenda packets only. The city is currently working with the remaining City boards and commissions that print paper copies on transitioning to paperless packets as well.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Alex Jackson, Energy Coordinator (City staff) | ajackson@DuluthMN.gov | 218-730-4433
Partners: