The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has published its new 20-year plan aimed to limit the Twin Cities’ waste production. It’s the next step in the MPCA’s plan to address a local trash problem: Waste levels are projected to keep going up, and recycling rates have stagnated.  The plan sets a goal of cutting waste production 15 percent from the agency’s current projections. Meeting that goal would mean the area would produce about the same amount of waste 20 years from now as they do today.

“It’s an ambitious goal, but it’s one that we can do with reuse organizations across the metropolitan area and the rest of the state,” said Kirk Koudelka, who works on waste strategy at the MPCA. The new plan will be passed on to seven counties in the Twin Cities metro: Anoka, Hennepin, Ramsey, Washington, Scott, Dakota and Carver. County governments will be responsible for crafting their own plans that match the state’s goals.

The plan outlines a variety of policies for counties to implement, some mandatory and some optional. Several of those policies focus on cutting waste from major producers. Counties will be required to work with organizations that produce a lot of food waste — like restaurants, hospitals and grocery stores — to cut how much they throw away. The plan also requires cities with more than 5,000 people to start curbside compost collection programs by 2030. Counties will also have to add support for recycling and composting infrastructure in multi-family buildings.

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Author: Estelle Timar-Wilcox, MPR News
Image: Estelle Timar-Wilcox, MPR News