Green digest // Expanded plastics recycling

Expanded plastics recycling coming next year

Metro-area recyclers are expanding the array of plastics they will accept, and that means Minneapolis households will soon be able to toss more than just the common number 1 and 2 plastics into their recycling bins.

City spokesman Casper Hill said residents could expect more information on expanded recycling options in December, and that “the city will be able to take advantage of expanded plastics recycling … beginning next year.”

Allied Waste Services of Minnesota, which collects many of the city’s recyclables at its North Minneapolis center, plans to accept all plastics numbered 1–7, said Rich Hirstein, senior area municipal services manager. The numbers identify different types of plastic, and typically can be found at the center of the triple-arrow recycling symbol printed on the product.

Hirstein said a “significant” increase in the volume of recyclables collected by Allied led to the expansion. It allowed the company to negotiate new contracts with the partner businesses that buy plastics for reprocessing or resale.

Within the last 12 months, Allied forged new contracts with a number of communities, including Shoreview, New Brighton, Albertville, Plymouth, Minnetonka and Golden Valley. Citing competitive concerns, Hirstein declined to share the company’s total household customer base, but said Plymouth, Minnetonka and Golden Valley alone would amount to “almost 50,000 [new] households” for the company when the new contracts begin Jan. 1.

Typical plastic number 1 and 2 products include milk jugs, pop and water bottles and detergent bottles. Products that weren’t previously collected by Allied but soon will be include: plastic bottle tops, ice cream buckets, yogurt and margarine containers and plastic bags. Also on that list are liquid soap dispensers, reusable food containers, cooking-oil bottles and plant containers.

Hirstein said Allied also aimed to reach the reluctant recyclers found in every community with its new recycling options.

“We’re trying to get the people who don’t recycle at all to recycle something,” he said. “… We’re trying to give them reasons that are just foolproof.”


Greenway Challenge raises $20K

Minneapolis resident Mark Ambroe took home the top prize in this year’s second-annual Greenway Challenge.

The event, meant to benefit the nonprofit Midtown Greenway Coalition, took place Sept. 24, when 32 participating riders — many in costume — completed six full lengths of the 5.5-mile transit corridor, riding a total of 33 miles. The Greenway Challenge raised just more than $20,000 for the coalition, which was less than the nearly $25,000 raised last year during the inaugural event.

Each of the participants was required to collect at least $250 in pledges. The coalition’s Theresa Nelson declined to divulge just how much money Ambroe raised to win, but it was enough to claim the one-week summer vacation in Vail, Colo., including air fare and bike rentals for two.

The group prize went to riders representing Nice Ride Minnesota, the nonprofit that operates the Twin Cities bike-sharing program.

Nelson said the event was enough of a success in year two that the coalition “definitely” planned to bring it back again next fall. Pictures from the ride were posted on the coalition’s website,


IATP celebrates 25 years

WHITTIER — The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy continues its 25th-anniversary celebration Oct. 28 with food, drink and music at the Polish National Hall, 1304 4th St. N.E.

The official anniversary party also will include what is billed as “the largest sustainable meat raffle ever held in Minneapolis (or anywhere).” The Twin Cities-based soul, R&B and dance band Soul Tight Committee will provide live music for the evening.

The event runs 6:30–midnight. Guests can choose to purchase tickets for either $25 or $125. The ticket price and any additional donation are tax deductible.

Space is limited and tickets will be sold in advance. For more information, or to purchase tickets, go to


Mark your calendar for America Recycles Day

America Recycles Day, marked every year since 1997 on Nov. 15, is less than a month away, and the Recycling Association of Minnesota (RAM) wants to help locals celebrate.

RAM has toolkits available for schools, religious organizations, offices and other groups that would like to organize an America Recycles Day event. Go to for more information, or visit the official national website at

Reach Dylan Thomas at