2019 recycling progress report
The 2019 recycling progress report (PDF) summarizes the county's progress toward meeting our goals of recycling 75 percent of waste and sending no waste to landfills by 2030. The 2019 report focuses on the county's efforts to reduce waste and take action on climate change.
Amount of waste generated and recycling rate
In 2019, county residents and businesses discarded about 1.45 million tons of solid waste. This includes everything put into recycling, organics recycling, and trash. That is about a 3% increase over 2018, or about 40,000 tons more.
The county’s recycling rate, which includes conventional recycling and organics recycling, was 49%, about the same as in 2018. The remaining waste was managed as trash, with 22% going to waste-to-energy facilities and 29% to landfills. A greater proportion of garbage was sent to landfills in 2019 due to the closure of the Great River Energy Elk River Resource Recovery Project at the beginning of the year.
Looking back and looking ahead
The report reflects on 50 years of waste management in Hennepin County – from open dumps and burn barrels in the 1970s to the development of recycling, organics recycling, hazardous waste management, and waste prevention programs throughout the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s.
Looking ahead to the future of environmental protection in Hennepin County, core services developed over the past 50 years to reduce and responsibly manage waste will continue. We are also focusing on making progress on our current priorities, which include taking action on climate change, expanding organics recycling, reducing food waste, and striving for zero waste.
The report highlights the following 2019 successes.
Reached out to businesses about food waste recycling requirements
Reached out to 2,000 businesses are required to have food waste recycling under the county’s revised recycling ordinance.
Started efforts to reduce construction and demolition waste
Launched efforts to salvage, reuse, and recycle building materials from construction and demolition projects.
Continued successful waste prevention efforts
Continued to see high interest and impressive results in waste prevention programs, including Fix-It Clinics, Zero Waste Challenge, and Master Recycler/Composter classes.
Supported the expansion of organics recycling
Distributed starter kits at farmers markets to promote organics recycling drop-offs, supported Robbinsdale in their roll out of citywide organics recycling, and provided grants to neighborhood groups in Minneapolis to conduct peer-to-peer outreach.
Educated on the importance of recycling the right stuff
Developed the Recycle Smart campaign to raise awareness about the importance of recycling the right stuff.
Increased recycling outreach to multifamily properties
Increased outreach to multifamily properties , providing support to more than 31,000 units at 166 properties.
Awarded recycling grants and provided recycling resources
Awarded grants to nearly 100 businesses and organizations and 18 schools to start or improve recycling programs and fulfilled 660 orders for recycling resources.
Presented recycling education
Presented 62 lessons on waste reduction, recycling, and organics recycling to nearly 4,000 students. Provided environmental education field trip transportation to 40 schools and organizations and offered tours at the county’s waste management facilities to about 1,500 participants.
Provided proper disposal of hazardous waste
Served nearly 150,000 residents at hazardous waste drop-off facilities and collection events, facilitating the proper disposal or recycling of more than 4,500 tons of waste.