2018 recycling progress report
The 2018 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.
Amount of waste generated and recycling rate
In 2018, county residents and businesses discarded about 1.45 million tons of solid waste, which includes everything put into recycling, organics recycling, and trash. That is a 1 percent increase over 2017, or about 16,000 tons more.
Of all the waste generated, 80 percent was diverted from landfills. The county’s recycling rate, which includes both conventional recycling and organics recycling, was 49 percent. The remaining waste was managed as trash, with 31 percent going to waste-to-energy facilities and 20 percent to landfills.
The report highlights the following successes in 2018.
Revised recycling ordinance
The county revised its recycling ordinance to require some businesses to recycle food waste, require cities to offer organics recycling service to residents, and add requirements to improve conventional recycling at businesses and multifamily properties.
Supported the expansion of organics recycling
The county helped establish and promote new organics recycling drop-off sites in Bloomington, Hopkins, and Richfield. The county also started accepting organics recycling at the drop-off facility in Bloomington. Staff also supported neighborhood groups in Minneapolis and St. Louis Park to conduct outreach about organics recycling.
Explored options for anaerobic digestion of organic materials
To ensure the system is in place to manage the increase in organics diverted from the trash, the county is working to improve and expand organics management infrastructure in multiple ways. This includes exploring anaerobic digestion to provide necessary future capacity to process organic material.
Encouraged residents to recycle the right stuff
The county responded to concerns about the state of recycling by creating messaging and educational materials focused on recycling the right stuff. Promotions highlighted top items that don’t belong in recycling bins at home and provided information on how to recycle or dispose of them properly.
Delivered free compost to schools
In collaboration with Specialized Environmental Technologies, the county distributed free compost to 40 schools to help them close the loop on organics recycling. Compost was used for vegetable gardens, a greenhouse, a rain garden, potted plants, and a tree planting.
Opened new medicine drop boxes
The county opened new medicine drop boxes and promoted the availability of more than 30 drop boxes now available at Hennepin County facilities, police departments, healthcare facilities, and independent pharmacies.