Solid waste policy reports

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) prepares a Solid Waste Policy report every four years. The report must include:

  • A summary of the current status of solid waste management, including amount of solid waste generated; how it is collected, processed, and disposed of; extent of separation, recycling, reuse, and recovery of solid waste; and facilities available or under development to manage the waste.
  • An evaluation of the extent and effectiveness of implementation and an assessment of progress in accomplishing state policies, goals, and objectives.
  • Identification of issues requiring further research, study, and action, the appropriate scope of the research, study, or action, the state agency or political subdivision that should implement the research, study, or action, and a schedule for completion of the activity.
  • Recommendations for establishing or modifying state solid waste management policies, authorities, and programs.

Binary Data Legislative charge (Minn. Stat. § 115A.411)

2019 Solid Waste Policy Report

PDF icon 2019 Solid Waste Policy Report (lrw-sw-1sy19)

Thank you for submitting your feedback for the draft of the 2019 Solid Waste Policy Report. The community feedback period is not a requirement of the publication of this report, but we believe that the report is stronger thanks to your feedback. We appreciate your perspective and suggested edits which have helped to refine recommendations and improve the overall quality of the report. We are excited to see support for key topics such as sustainable materials management and environmental justice. We look forward to your continued support in reaching Minnesota’s environmental and solid waste goals, and working together to accomplish the goals of this report.

2011 Solid Waste Policy Report

This biennial Solid Waste Policy Report emphasizes key developments, trends, and challenges facing the solid waste system in Minnesota.

  • Illustrates developments through the use of specific examples that are being implemented or under consideration across the state.
  • Summarizes the key system trends and then transitions to developments and challenges facing the strategies employed to manage solid waste: source reduction and reuse, recycling, organics management, and waste to energy.
  • Offers conclusions and recommendations for moving forward on solid waste issues and outcomes.

The 2011 report builds on several of the themes identified in the 2007 and 2009 MPCA solid waste policy reports: the need for government reform, reinvention in solid waste management, and further identification and re-alignment of roles and responsibilities of those engaged in the solid waste system, from product manufacturers to local governments to facility operators.

The report reflects EPA's Sustainable Materials Management approach that is gaining momentum in the United States. While still in its infancy as a policy principle, materials management is focused on:

  • Knowing and reducing the lifecycle impacts across the supply chain.
  • Using less material inputs (reduce, reuse, recycle).
  • Using less toxic and more renewable materials.
  • Considering whether services can be substituted for products.

A fundamental underpinning of materials management is that significant economic value resides in the material that is treated as waste and significant economic opportunity exists when materials are recovered and recycled.

2009 Solid Waste Policy Report

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) recognizes that the state's solid waste system has fundamental structural problems that prevent it from meeting the objectives of the Waste Management Act, and that a more effective governance (steering) system is needed to achieve the greenhouse gas and energy goals set by the Legislature. The system should include clear roles and responsibilities, effective tools, accountability, equity, and should be able to adapt to changing circumstances.

The MPCA is committed to working with stakeholders at the local, regional, and state levels to address challenges that relate to solid waste management.

This biennial Solid Waste Policy Report is divided into five parts:

  1. A summary of the Integrated Solid Waste Management stakeholder process, including the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s observations regarding this process
  2. A description of Minnesota’s current solid waste system and recommendations for engaging state and local leadership in discussions on how to move to a new level of system outcomes
  3. A framework to guide the state forward in developing a more effective solid waste governance system 
  4. An update regarding the progress made on key issues identified in the 2007 Solid Waste Policy Report
  5. Conclusions and recommendations for moving forward on solid waste issues and outcomes.

2007-08 Solid Waste Policy Report

2007 Solid Waste Policy Report (Feb. 2008)Since the Waste Management Act was enacted in 1980, the state has seen the development of a robust and integrated system for solid waste management, with well-managed facilities for recycling, energy generation, and disposal.

But progress with waste management methods on the upper end of the waste management hierarchy has stalled since 2000: the statewide recycling rate has plateaued, organics diversion has yet to meet its potential, and waste-to-energy percentages have dropped. The result is that landfilling of Minnesota waste has increased significantly.

Meanwhile, concerns about climate change and energy constraints have grown. During the 2007 session, the Governor and Legislature, with broad support from Minnesotans, laid out the need for more renewable energy and for cutting greenhouse gas emissions. These issues pose challenges as well as opportunities for our economy.

Focusing the 2007 report. Building on this consensus, the MPCA chose to focus the 2007 Solid Waste Policy Report on renewable energy, energy conservation, and the need for cutting greenhouse-gas emissions. From June 2007 through February 2008 the agency worked with a broad array of stakeholders across the state to discuss and review policy options that would reduce the amount of solid waste generated in Minnesota and then improve waste management to recover more resources from the material that remains. Meanwhile the Minnesota Climate Change Advisory Group offered suggestions on how to improve waste management to assist in meeting state greenhouse-gas reduction goals through 2025.

The report contains the MPCA's policy and process recommendations to the Legislature.