Lowry Hill East resident Katlyn Flannery wanted to take action in her community after the 2016 election.
It spurred her to attend a neighborhood association meeting and eventually start an organics recycling program in the neighborhood.
Flannery, an architectural designer, worked with the Wedge Community Co-op to set up carts for residents who otherwise may not have easy access to organics recycling. The program has grown to serve about 350 people over the past six months, and Flannery has worked with the co-op to set up a second set of bins at the Wedge Table Cafe.
“We just want more people to participate in the behavior,” Flannery said.
Flannery, who minored in sustainability studies, joined the Lowry Hill East Neighborhood Association Environmental Committee in the months after the election. She said expanding organics access for renters was a good target for an initial project, adding that she wanted to make it more convenient for herself as well.
“It is a simple behavior with a huge impact,” Flannery said of organics recycling.
Minneapolis provides organics carts and curbside organics pickup for all one- to four-unit residential buildings in the city. It will provide carts and curbside pickup to buildings with five or more units if they contract with the city for solid waste services. But many residents of those building don’t have access to organics recycling, Flannery said.
Flannery noted a majority of Lowry Hill East residents are renters, meaning that many don’t have access to organics carts at their buildings. She noted how the city has drop-off sites but that the closest one to Lowry Hill East used to be several miles away.
Flannery initially requested a city bin for her building before turning her efforts toward creating a drop-off site in the neighborhood. She cold-called and emailed local businesses and eventually connected with the co-op, which agreed to provide space for the carts.
LHENA pays for the program, which is free and open to the public. The Whittier Alliance has agreed to pay for the second site at the Wedge Table Café, which began service on April 1.
Flannery said organics recycling is in line with the City of Minneapolis’ goal of zero waste, adding that her vision is to get more people doing organics recycling. She said the next step is to get organics recycling into larger apartment buildings, including those near the Midtown Greenway.
Flannery added that she’s appreciative of the Wedge Co-op and of Kellie Kish with the city for their help.
“It just opens doors for us to do it elsewhere,” she said.
Sign-up is required for people interested in participating in the program, as the bins are locked for most of the year. To learn more or sign up for the organics program, visit thewedge.org/organics.