Zero waste challenge

Slash your trash 

Ever wonder how you create so much trash at home?

Reducing waste is a great way to lower your impact on the environment and reduce the amount of stuff you have to deal with, but it can be hard to figure out what actions to take and how to fit them into your life. 

If you’ve ever wanted to reduce the amount of waste you create, Hennepin County’s Zero Waste Challenge is a great opportunity to learn more and get hands-on help. Households participating in the challenge commit to taking an eight-month-long look at the goods we buy and waste we create to uncover the opportunities and challenges to increasing recycling and reducing waste.

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About the program

With the assistance of staff and trained volunteers, participating households identify low-waste lifestyle changes they would like to make and track and report the amount of recycling and trash generated in their homes.

Why participate

Many of us intend to take action on issues we care about but struggle to figure out the best changes to make or how to fit new habits 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 hands-on 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 will be used to develop future waste reduction programs.

What participants receive

Participants receive:

  • Hands-on, personalized coaching to assess the waste generated in their homes and develop a customized waste reduction plan.
  • Opportunities to attend workshops on a variety of waste reduction topics.
  • Supplies and educational materials as needed, including a scale to weigh waste, compostable bags, a backyard compost bin, and a zero-waste guide.
  • Ongoing assistance from staff and volunteers in making low-waste lifestyle changes.

Expectation of participants

Participants are expected to:

  • Attend an introductory workshop (see dates and locations below).
  • Attend one workshop to learn more about ways they can reduce waste. Workshops will cover a wide variety of topics and will be offered at many locations, dates, and times throughout the challenge.
  • Make their best attempt to adopt actions suggested by staff or volunteers to reduce the amount of waste created in their households. 
  • Track and report the trash, recycling, and food waste their household generates for four weeks at the beginning and end of the challenge.
  • Commit to the entire eight-month challenge (September 11, 2017 - April 30, 2018).

Sign up

Applications for the Zero Waste Challenge are not being accepted at this time. Applications for the fall 2018 to spring 2019 round will be accepted starting in late July or early August.

Contact Carolyn Collopy at or 612-596-0993 if you would like to be notified when applications are being accepted for the next round of the Zero Waste Challenge.

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