City releases zero waste plan draft

Minneapolis on Sept. 7 released a draft of its zero-waste plan, a roadmap for the city to achieve its overall sustainability goals.

The plan identifies strategies the city can take to collaborate with residents, businesses, nonprofits, commercial haulers and other stakeholders to reduce waste and minimize environmental impacts. It was developed with the idea that reducing waste is most preferable, followed by reusing, recycling, organics recovery, burning waste and then landfill disposal.

Mayor Betsy Hodges initiated the development of a zero-waste plan in her 2015 State of the City address. The City Council established a goal in June 2015 to recycle and compost 50 percent of its citywide waste by 2020 and 80 percent by 2030.

The draft plan identifies four high-priority strategies for reducing waste, including conducting regular waste sorts, allocating additional resources for education and outreach, establishing sustainable program funding and promoting source reduction and reuse.

Specific strategies include restructuring the current garbage and recycling fee structure, requiring businesses and apartments to develop written waste-reduction and diversion plans and requiring garbage haulers to achieve greater levels of waste reduction and diversion.

City staff was holding a series of engagement sessions for residents and business sessions in the two weeks after the draft was announced. They stressed that the plan was simply a playbook for action, not a guarantee the city will implement any specific actions. An implementation plan will get drafted next.

The hope is to get the plan approved at the City Council’s Nov. 3 meeting, Council Member Cam Gordon said at a Sept. 14 engagement session. Residents can provide feedback on the plan through an online survey, which can be found at minneapolismn.gov/mayor/ZWM/index.htm.

A list of key zero-waste-plan strategies was highlighted at a community-engagement session Sept. 14.
A list of key zero-waste-plan strategies was highlighted at a community-engagement session Sept. 14.
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