Linden Hills compost pilot program to start within weeks

It took a bit of a wait, but curbside collection of Linden Hills compost will become a reality by the start of July.

It has been more than six months since the City Council gave the go-ahead for the pilot program. At the time, excitement in the neighborhood was beginning to boil. Since then, it’s bubbled over.

But residents mostly have been in the dark about when they can expect to have their compost picked up.

“There are people telling me, ‘I’m storing compost in my freezer waiting for this project,’ ” said Tom Braun, of non-profit Linden Hills Power and Light. The community-based group, dedicated to waste reduction and energy conservation, was a big reason Linden Hills was chosen as the first neighborhood in Minneapolis to collect organic waste.

The holdup was a state law that didn’t allow Source Separated Organics (SSO) — which can include pizza boxes, paper towels and other biodegradable substances — and yard waste to be combined in the same container. That meant separate bags, separate pickups and a more costly process, said Susan Young, the director of the city’s Solid Waste and Recycling division who has spearheaded the project. The most lasting way to work around the issue, Young said, was to change the law.

That initiative was a success: On Friday, Gov. Tim Pawlenty signed into law a bill containing a provision allowing SSO and yard waste to be combined.

“It allows us an environmentally good thing cost effectively,” Young said.

The pilot program can now get under way. She said brochures will be printed within days and that pickups should begin by the end of June or at the start of July.