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Zero Waste Challenge

Slash your trash and live a lower waste lifestyle

Ever wonder how you create so much trash at home? Many people are interested in taking steps to prevent waste, declutter, and recycle more, but aren’t sure where to start.

Hennepin County’s Zero Waste Challenge will help you learn more, connect you with resources to help you reach your goals, and provide support and motivation along the way.

The county offers an intensive Zero Waste Challenge with limited participation once per year, and multiple rounds of the online Zero Waste Challenge with unlimited participation throughout the year.

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Opportunities to participate in the online Zero Waste Challenge

Upcoming online challenges

Hennepin County offers numerous opportunities to participate in rounds of the online Zero Waste Challenge throughout the year.

A challenge focused on reducing food waste will be offered in fall 2021.

About the online challenge

The online Zero Waste Challenge will help you take an in-depth look at the goods you buy and waste you create to uncover opportunities to recycle more and reduce waste. You may be surprised by the variety of actions you can take.

The online Zero Waste Challenge is powered by EcoChallenge.

During the eight-month challenge, 50 households take an in-depth look at the goods we buy and waste we create to uncover opportunities to recycle more and reduce waste.

Get involved

Applications for the 2021 to 2022 round of the Zero Waste Challenge will be accepted in August 2021. 

What participants receive

Participating households:

  • Receive hands-on, personalized coaching from a county waste reduction and recycling specialist to assess the waste generated in their homes, develop a customized waste-reduction plan, and make low-waste lifestyle changes.
  • Attend a series of virtual educational workshops and discussions on waste-reduction topics such as low-waste shopping, preventing food waste, and backyard composting.
  • Evaluate their waste at the beginning, middle, and end of the challenge and submit their data to the county.
  • Receive bi-weekly waste reduction tips and get access to supplies and educational materials.
  • Connect with other households striving to live lower waste lifestyles.

Participating households are expected to attend a virtual introductory workshop and at least four of the six monthly virtual workshops and discussions.

Why participate

Many of us intend to take action on issues we care about but struggle to figure out which changes or new habits fit into our busy lives. If you’ve ever wanted to reduce the amount of waste you create, this program is a great opportunity to learn more and get personalized help.

Additionally, your participation provides the county valuable insights into the opportunities, challenges and priorities to reach our recycling and waste reduction goals. The results and lessons learned are used to develop future waste reduction programs.

Watch the video to learn more about the Zero Waste Challenge

Expectation of participants

Participants are expected to:

  • Attend a virtual introductory workshop.
  • Attend at least four of the six monthly workshops and discussions to learn more about ways they can reduce waste. Workshops will cover a variety of topics and will be offered several times per month throughout the challenge.
  • Have one home visit/one-on-one conversation with their staff liaison to check in on their progress and answer questions. Home visits will be virtual unless there is an option to be in-person while following health and safety precautions.
  • Make their best attempt to adopt actions to reduce the amount of waste created in their households
  • Track and report the trash, recycling, and food waste their household generates for two weeks at the beginning, middle, and end of the challenge
  • Commit to the entire eight-month challenge mid-September 2020 through mid-May 2021.

Participation involves about two hours of scheduled time each month for workshops and other check-ins. Additional time is spent on your own schedule to make progress on waste-reduction actions and evaluate your waste.

Spread the word

Encourage others to join! Download the Zero Waste Challenge flyer (PDF) or media kit (DOCX) with a sample newsletter article, social media posts, graphics, and photos.

Online Zero Waste Challenge

 The next online challenge focused on reducing food waste will be offered in fall 2021.

Personalized eight-month Zero Waste Challenge

Applications for the 2021 to 2022 round of the personalized Zero Waste Challenge will be accepted in August 2021.

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