Input from over 200 residents, businesses, and local governments helped shape final plan
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) today released the Metro Solid Waste Policy Plan 2022-2042, which includes 70 recommendations for improving how the seven-county metro manages a growing waste problem. The 20-year plan aims to reduce waste across the Twin Cities with strategies ranging from required curbside compost pickup to fees for takeout containers and grants for businesses to reduce food waste.
The MPCA shared a draft of the plan in the summer of 2023 and received over 200 comments from residents, businesses, and local governments which contributed to the 70 recommendations included in the final report.
Public input resulted in several updates to the Metro Solid Waste Policy Plan including:
- Increased waste reduction goal from 5% to 15%. The final plan calls for the Twin Cities to reduce the total amount of waste we create by 15% over the next 20 years. This goal was raised from 5% in response to many comments asking for a more ambitious target to limit our need for landfills and waste-to-energy facilities.
- Added strategies to support recycling and composting in multi-family housing. Counties can meet this requirement through educational programs or financial and technical assistance to improve recycling infrastructure in buildings.
- Curbside compost collection in cities with more than 5,000 people by 2030. Many comments voiced support for this strategy, required in the final plan.
- Support for grocery stores, restaurants, and food processors to reduce food waste. Counties will be required to work with large commercial food generators to implement organics recycling programs focused on reducing food waste.
“We listened to cities, counties, businesses, and residents to develop a plan that will cut pollution by making reducing waste, reusing goods, and recycling more convenient,” said Kirk Koudelka, assistant commissioner for land policy and strategic initiatives at the MPCA. “These goals are ambitious. We’re committed to changing our systems to meet them. But we also need every resident of the Twin Cities to commit to better choices as well.”
The MPCA recommends individuals focus on choices that will reduce the overall amount of waste they create including:
- “Buying used” when possible.
- Extending the lifetime of clothes, household items, electronics, and other products.
- Working “reusable” products into their daily routines — replacing shopping bags, food, and beverage containers, and other items typically thrown away or recycled.
- Committing to composting food waste for a month for residents who have never tried.
Over the next nine months, the MPCA will help county governments develop individual approaches to meet the requirements included in the Metro Solid Waste Plan.
The Twin Cities generates more trash every year and efforts to reduce the amount that goes to landfills continue to be a challenge. The region generated 3.3 million tons of waste in 2021, and this number is expected to grow 19% by 2042. The Twin Cities recycling rate rose slightly last year to 49% — far less than the state’s goal of achieving a 75% recycling rate by 2030.
To read the full Metro Solid Waste Plan visit www.pca.state.mn.us/mpp.