No wasted energy

An environmentally-friendly way to dispose of waste

An environmentally-friendly way to dispose of waste

Thanks to the Hennepin Energy Recovery Center (HERC), burying garbage in landfills is becoming a thing of the past. HERC burns garbage to create energy, processing 365,000 tons of waste each year. It is just one part of the county's waste management efforts that emphasize waste prevention, reuse, recycling and composting.

A cleaner way

There are both economic and environmental advantages to using HERC instead of getting rid of waste in landfills:

  • Air emissions at HERC are cleaned and treated before being released. This equipment is monitored 24/7.
  • Waste at landfills is buried, meaning it can take years to detect and find a leak in a liner.
  • A ton of waste processed at HERC creates electricity to run a house for 21 days, plus steam to heat Target Field and downtown Minneapolis.
  • Every ton of trash burned at HERC produces less greenhouse gas emissions than if it were disposed of in a landfill, which produces methane.
  • HERC provides more jobs at higher wages than landfills.

The quest for zero waste

In 2015, 46 percent of waste generated in Hennepin County was diverted to inorganic recycling or organics recycling. That’s a five percent increase since 2010, but we’re looking for ways to do more.

As part of a new waste study, Hennepin County is digging into residents’ garbage to learn more about what we are throwing away and what opportunities we are missing to recycle more.

The study involves sorting trash into new categories that will provide better, more specific information about what could be recycled now but is not, and what opportunities need to be developed to increase recycling in the future.

Our goal is to recycle 75 percent of waste by 2030.