Solid Waste Advisory Committee
Minnesota's Solid Waste Advisory Committee originally convened for a series of full-day meetings that ran through January 2002. The committee explored and developed solutions to address the state's growing waste stream in a manner that is sustainable and protective of the environment. Chaired by Sen. Gene Merriam, membership was composed of policy makers from the state and local levels, generators of commercial and residential waste, and representatives from the waste management industry and environmental groups.
The committee was called back to continue its work, building on its efforts in 2001-2. The goal of the new round of meetings was to make recommendations for the 2003 legislative session.
The committee built upon the efforts of the Solid Waste Technical Advisory Work Group (2001), which used a systems mapping approach to evaluate barriers to implementing a totally integrated solid waste system in Minnesota (articulated in the Solid Waste Policy Report (January 2000).
Based on its work in 2001-02, the committee made five recommendations:
- By January 1, 2003, the Minnesota Office of Environmental Assistance, in consultation with the stakeholders' group, develop statewide five-year goals to improve the management of solid waste, consistent with an integrated solid waste management system.
- Establish a periodic ongoing process to evaluate solid waste governance and finance matters, which would be made up of legislators and stakeholders.
- Require the various agencies involved in the waste management system to improve data collection so that accurate year-to-year comparisons can be made and trends can be identified in a timely manner.
- Provide reporting consistency among state agencies to avoid overlap as much as possible.
- Require that state agencies rely upon the successful models from previous programs to build future programs and policies and avoid additional investment in programs that have not been as successful.
The 33-member group composed of key policy makers from the state and local levels and private businesses, including state Legislators, local elected officials, generators of commercial and residential solid waste, representatives of waste management facilities, services and programs, and environmental groups. The chair was Sen. Gene Merriam.
The OEA worked closely with the Governor's office, Legislative leadership, county officials and private businesses to structure the Solid Waste Advisory Committee. Members were appointed with input from the chairs of these groups: the House and Senate Environment and Natural Resource Committees, the Association of Minnesota Counties' Environmental Policy Committee, the Metropolitan Solid Waste Management Coordinating Board, and the Minnesota Chamber's Environmental Policy Committee.
Advisory committee final report
At the conclusion of its work, the Advisory Committee provided a report to the Commissioner of the Pollution Control Agency and the Chairs of the House and Senate Finance Committees and the Environment and Natural Resources Policy Committees. The report outlines the options that the state might adopt to develop a fully integrated waste management system that would be able to handle the state's growing waste stream.Recommendations of the State Solid Waste Advisory Committee
These publications provide insight into Minnesota's efforts to manage MSW.
- The work of the Solid Waste Technical Advisory Work Group has been compiled and presented in a final report, with detailed appendices that show the progress of the work group through the systems mapping process. The work group developed ten recommendations aimed at improving solid waste management in Minnesota. Final Report (175Kb) | Appendices (530Kb)
- The Minnesota Solid Waste Policy Report provides an analysis of the status of the state's solid waste system, and makes recommendations regarding Minnesota's waste management policies, system improvements and research.
- In the the April 2002 report, Waste as a Resource, the OEA advocates a new way of thinking about waste, based on the principles of sustainability and resource conservation. This transition must begin by unraveling the myth that waste, by its very nature, is inherently valueless.
- The January 2000 report proposed several strategies and policies to begin the transition of waste management to the 21st century, based on principles of sustainability and resource conservation. It is intended to challenge both business and government to lead the way toward environmental sustainability.
- The Minnesota MSW Composition Study (March 2000) is a detailed examination of what Minnesotans throw away as garbage. Despite recycling 47.2% of waste in the state, Minnesotans threw away over 3 million tons of garbage in 1999.
- The annual Report on SCORE Programs is an examination of Minnesota waste programs and data. The figures are gathered through a formal survey of county solid waste officers. Analysis and evaluation of this data helps the OEA report on statewide recycling rates, waste generation, disposal of MSW, and the finance and administration of MSW programs. Statewide trends are examined, as well as providing detailed data by county.
- Citizens Jury on Metro Solid Waste (June 2001) involved 18 Twin Cities residents in a 5-day process to develop recommendations about strategies for managing the region's solid waste, including waste reduction, reuse, recycling, processing (composting, waste-to-energy) and landfilling.