The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency commissioned research to develop quantifiable information comparing open and organized collection systems for residential municipal solid waste (MSW) and recyclable materials. Using examples from cities across Minnesota, the analysis provides details on these programs based on:
- Impacts on the environment
- Efficiency and effectiveness of solid waste management systems
- Outcomes as they relate to objectives of the MPCA's strategic plan, such as renewable energy and reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Foth Infrastructure & Environment LLC (Lake Elmo, Minn.) was hired by the MPCA through a technical contract. In the course of their research, they gathered facts and data from counties, cities with populations greater than 10,000, and businesses that provide hauling services for waste and recyclable materials.
In their analysis, they measured:
- Costs of garbage and recyclable collection for households;
- Scope and types of services received in municipalities;
- Effectiveness of recycling programs;
- Results of mixed municipal solid waste management; and
- Impacts to infrastructure.
In several instances, researchers collected additional information about residential waste and recycling collections in order to compare similar systems throughout Minnesota. The information used for these more detailed comparisons generally involved the measurement of greenhouse gas emissions along with fuel consumption and efficiency. Greenhouse gases, whether from natural or human causes, absorb heat in the atmosphere and reflect it back to Earth, resulting in global warming.
For more information
If you have questions about the study, contact Sigurd Scheurle, MPCA: 612-669-1377 or Sig.Scheurle@state.mn.us.