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Hennepin County, Minn., Conducts Study on Residents’ Waste

In Hennepin County, Minn., waste workers at Hennepin Energy Recovery Center are conducting a weeklong study that consists of sifting through residents’ waste to find out what people are throwing away. Through this study, the center hopes to find a solution to help residents throw out less and recycle more.

So far, the workers have found books, shoes, clothing and reusable bags, which could be donated or repurposed. They have also found a number of contaminated waste items, such as takeout containers with hardened food and unrinsed peanut butter jars. 

This study will also help the state get on track for reaching its goal of recycling 75 percent of its waste by 2030.

StarTribune has more details:

Hennepin County is digging through your trash.

A handful of men and women in hard hats and jumpsuits are sorting almost two tons of garbage in a downtown Minneapolis warehouse. The stink wafts from the Hennepin Energy Recovery Center’s tipping floor and is nauseating behind closed doors, but they’ve gotten used to it.

The sort is part of a weeklong study to figure out what people are throwing away. Or more importantly, how we can throw away less and recycle more.

“If we’re going to reduce what we’ve been doing, we have to know what’s in the trash stream,” Commissioner Randy Johnson said.

The plant burns 365,000 tons of garbage every year, generating enough energy to power 26,000 homes, said Dave McNary, HERC’s assistant director of the Solid Waste and Energy Division in the Department of Environment Services. However, the state wants the metro area to recycle 75 percent of its waste by 2030.

Read the full story here.

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