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Minneapolis council considering mandatory recycling rules for large-scale events

Minneapolis recyclingIt all started when a neighbor of Council Member Betsy Hodges called to say she noticed there was no provision for recycling at an event she attended in Minneapolis. She wondered why.

The answer is simple: Large events, parades and races are not required to recycle waste in Minneapolis, although some do an excellent job of cleaning up and recycling.

“I was surprised, given what we do elsewhere and what we value,” said Hodges, who is the sponsor of an ordinance that would require recycling at events, parades and races beginning Jan. 1.

“I think this change works with our recycling, and it fits our vision for the city,” said Hodges during a public hearing Tuesday before the Transportation and Public Works Committee.

The new rules would require planners for events, parades and races to submit a written plan for recycling paper, cardboard, plastic, glass, metal containers and “compostables.”

If you are new to the language of recycling, compostables are defined as material derived from living organisms and capable of decay.

Those planners also will have to be ready with adequate recycling containers complete with signage. They must also deliver the recyclables to a processing facility and receive a weight ticket to prove they have completed the process.

The new recycling requirements need a phase-in time to allow event planners to comply; many already are working on next year’s activities.

“I don’t like to take people by surprise even when we’re doing something good,” said Council Member Sandy Colvin Roy, who chairs the committee.

The new rules would apply to an estimated 10 to 15 large events a year and all parades and races.  It is not unusual for a race to attract 5,000 people.

Some parades, on the other hand, can be quite small.

Council Member Elizabeth Glidden said one parade in her 8th Ward “has more people in the parade than those watching.”  She was among those concerned about the proof of recycling in the form of a weight receipt.

Some small events, sponsored by schools and churches, currently add recyclables collected at those events to the school or church recycling bins. The wording of the new ordinance would require them to bypass those bins and take all of the material to a processing center.

“I’ll work with those small groups on a case-by-case basis,” said Licensing Inspector Phil Schliesman.

“This is going to trigger learning experiences for many people,” said Colvin Roy.

The full council is expected to vote on the recycling plan at its July 20 meeting.

Purple bridge?  Maybe

September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month in Minneapolis. To that end, the City Council is expected to ask the Minnesota Department of Transportation to light up the I-35W bridge over the Mississippi River in purple, the designated awareness color for ovarian cancer.

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Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Pat Berg on 07/11/2012 - 10:20 am.


    I’m always dismayed when I buy food at a restaurant that offers such things as beverages in recyclable bottles, but has no recycling bins to throw the recyclable empties into. I end up hauling my “empties” home to throw into my own recycling bin.

    It seems to me that a restaurant selling such beverages should be required to provide recycling containers alongside the regular waste containers.

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