For A Greener Minneapolis // The city of Minneapolis has a long tradition of being a frontrunner for the green movement. Bike lanes, mass transit, and a strong residential recycling program are among the many initiatives Minneapolis has undertaken in order to be a greener city. Unfortunately, this is not true when it comes to businesses recycling. Minneapolis lags behind many other cities because it hasn’t established a strong business recycling requirement. Businesses generate a massive amount of recyclable waste that is being thrown into our already overflowing landfills. We need to make sure that this waste is recycled and reused to reduce waste, pollution, energy usage, and greenhouse gas emissions.
How Does it Work? // Most businesses recycle in one way or another. Now we just need to hold all workplaces accountable to provide recycling and level the playing field. The Commercial Building Inspections Program would enforce the mandate through regular inspections. The costs associated with this program would not come from a general tax fund, but from the garbage and recycling fee already in place. Businesses would be required to contract with either private or city haulers to transport the recyclables.
The Benefits of Business Recycling //
Waste Reduction and Sustainability
A strong commercial recycling program reinforces the commitment to maintain a high standard of environmental responsibility that Minneapolis residents pride themselves on. Many cities have already implemented commercial recycling programs and have had great results. San Francisco, for example, cut the amount of waste sent to landfills by 75% in the first six months alone.
Implementing a strong commercial recycling program in Minneapolis will also help create jobs. An increase in recycling collection will positively affect jobs all the way from the people who sort the recycling to the haulers and the recycling facilities.
Business recycling has the potential be a cost saver for the city. Instead of paying the landfills for trash that doesn’t belong there in the first place, the city saves both avoided and opportunity costs.
Who Else is Doing This? // Many communities have commercial recycling programs at varying levels. Here is a short list of cities that are comparable to Minneapolis with active and successful programs:
San Francisco, CA
This past summer, San Francisco passed a mandatory business recycling program. In the roughly six months since its implementation San Francisco has been able to cut waste sent to landfills by over 75%. Experts believe that once the program is fully implemented the city could cut waste sent to landfills by as much as 90%. Check out MPIRG's report on business recycling ordinances and recomendations for Minneapolis.
The Status of Business Recycling Policy // Recently, Councilman Cam Gordon introduced a bill to establish a strong commercial recycling program in Minneapolis. With support of Minneapolis residents this mandate will go through in early 2011.
How do Businesses Feel About This? // A recent survey conducted by the Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce showed that:
48% of businesses support a recycling mandate
18% of businesses are indifferent
A vast majority of local businesses recycle in one way or another.
Ways YOU Can Help! // Contact your city council member and let them know you support a strong commercial recycling program!
Find your ward’s council member by visiting: http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/council/
Encourage local business owners to speak out in support of this initiative. You can aslo
become a contributing member of MPIRG and allow us to carry your voice and vote locally as we fight for a greener Minneapolis!