The state of Minnesota defines our waste hierarchy as:
I wrote about recycling, and composting, and I recently visited the local waste-to-energy (WTE) facility to complete the picture of the garbage lifecycle. If you live in or near Minneapolis, there’s a place called the Hennepin Energy Recovery Center (the HERC). It’s downtown, right next to Target Field. In the winter, the amount of steam it produces in the cold, still air makes it look like a cloud factory.
People that recycle often feel recycling guilt. It’s when they want to make sure something gets recycled even if it’s not recyclable. This is when wish cycling occurs. You can’t just wish your grease-stained cardboard pizza box can get recycled. Cardboard is recyclable, right? Instead let’s put it where it belongs and really reduce the contents of your waste bin.
To get started, let’s look at the big picture: total trash output. It appears that we reached “Peak Trash” in 1990
Last week I had the pleasure of visiting the Waste Management Material Recovery Facility (MRF) in Minneapolis, colloquially referred to as a “Murf.” Simply put, this is the type of place all of your recycling goes to be processed. This particular facility is where recycling from Columbia Heights goes (and other cities that contract through Waste Management). Fridley’s recycling goes to a similar type of murf facility owned by Republic Services in Inver Grove Heights.
The trip was enlightening and I wish everyone could see it in action. If you can’t make it, here are the cliff’s notes.