Today, there are ways to recycle more items than ever, and the market continues to expand. What is the future of a green and environmentally friendly life? For many communities, the next frontier is organics recycling.
What are Organics?
About a third of what we throw away is organic material that can be composted. This includes food waste and non-recyclable paper like napkins, egg cartons and pizza boxes from delivery.
One way to reduce waste going into the garbage is by doing backyard composting,which involves recycling fruit and vegetable scraps and yard waste into compost at home. Many cities and counties are looking to give residents more options when it comes to disposing of organic waste. Organics recycling offers an easy solution that accepts more types of organic waste than backyard composting.
Composting at Home
A great place to start with organics is right in your backyard. Composting at home will reduce what ends up in your garbage and provide valuable nutrients to your yard or garden. Start your compost bin with a mix of three parts dry ingredients, such as dead leaves, to one part wet ingredients, such as fruit and vegetable scraps.
The Bigger Picture
Organics recycling isn’t just for people willing to compost in their backyard. Curbside or drop-off organics recycling options allow you to put your food waste and compostable items to good use. More items are accepted in these programs because the large-scale compost facilities reach higher temperatures that will kill bacteria and break down items like meat, bones and dairy products.
Curbside programs are now available in in Minneapolis, St. Louis Park and by some other cities and haulers in Hennepin County. Drop-off locations are available for residents of Anoka County, Dakota County, Hennepin County and Ramsey County.
How does it work?
Recycling organics requires a little bit of attention to what you purchase and what goes where. In organics recycling programs, all food scraps, non-recyclable paper like napkins, paper towels, egg cartons and pizza boxes from delivery, and certified compostable products are accepted.
You will need compostable bags to place your items in. Keep an eye out for the word compostable on the products you buy, as those are accepted. Labels like BPI and Cedar Grove indicate that an item is certified compostable. There is a difference between compostable and biodegradable, as biodegradable doesn’t necessarily mean an item can be composted or placed in organics recycling bins.
Making it Easy
Get some tips for collecting organics from Hennepin County. Convert your existing garbage can into an organics bin and get a smaller can for garbage. Take your organics out to your collection bin or compost pile frequently. Use labels, like ones made with the signmaker tool, to help differentiate between bins. The City of Minneapolis has a great video on how to participate in organics recycling as they expand their program. More than 30 percent of Minneapolis residences are participating in the new curbside program.
Outside the Home, Inside the Bin
There are plenty of facilities and businesses that collect organics for composting. Whether you are taking in a baseball game at Target Field or CHS Field or having a day at the park at Three Rivers Regional Parks, there are organics bins and ways to reduce the amount of garbage produced. You already recycle when you’re away from home, so look for ways to compost and recycle organics as well!
Why Do it?
Recycling organics is a great way to cut down on garbage. Not only can it reduce the size and price of your garbage can, but it puts your organic waste to better use by creating a valuable resource that can be used in a variety of projects. Some programs are available at no additional cost. Look for options and encourage your community to start the future of recycling today!