Hennepin County hopes grants will boost recycling

6:43 AM, Oct 3, 2013   |    comments
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MINNEAPOLIS -  Need inspiration to recycle more? Hennepin County is betting money may do the trick.  It's specifically targeting businesses, where more than half of the county's waste comes from.

With a culture of bring your own bag and buy organic, the Wedge Co-op in Minneapolis is somewhere you would expect recycling and composting. But right now, the veggie scraps that go to a community garden only add up to 14 percent of what could be composted.

The Wedge's Sustainability Coordinator, Alan Makinen explains their current program "Captures only a small portion of our potential that can go to composting.  So we're hoping with this program that can go to 100 percent."

The program is a grant from Hennepin county.

Businesses have been asking for this type of financial help for a number of years. We know it's an important piece for the county to meet its recycling goals. So now the county has responded to that request and we're hoping that businesses will step up to the plate," challenges Hennepin County's Recycling Specialist John Jaimez.

"We've got everything from produce scraps as their prepping and preparing, we've got out kitchen scraps from our deli and from our meat and seafood. So we have a lot that we can contribute to this, we just truly haven't had the space," says Wedge Brand Marketing Director Jessica Pierce.

Renovating their very crowded waste pickup area with the grant money will mean the trash and more importantly the compost will be picked up at the Wedge once a week instead of once a day.

Pierce adds, "That's a huge savings for us. So not only are we doing something great for the environment, we're doing something great for the organization as a whole."

It's also something their environmentally conscious customers have come to expect.

The grants are for businesses of all types and sizes. Grant guidelines and application materials can be found at http://www.hennepin.us/businessrecycling.

Smaller, accelerated grants can be applied for at anytime.  The applications for the larger, open-competitive grants are due November 1 for this current grant round.  

The next grant round for the open-competitive grants will be in the spring, but no due date has been set yet for that grant round.



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