Green digest // Clean up for Earth Day

Minneapolis’ annual Earth Day Clean Up event hit something of a snag last year: the weather.

If you can think back to before the recent summer-in-March, you might recall the spring of 2011 and the preceding winter played out a bit differently than what we’ve experienced this year. The super-snowy winter of 2010–2011 was followed by a chilly spring, and with fresh snow on the ground for the 2011 Earth Day Clean Up, volunteer turnout was down considerably from previous years.

About 1,500 volunteers turned out last year, roughly half the number who picked up trash in 2010. The total amount of trash collected, while still a respectable 10,000-plus pounds, was only one-third the amount collected in 2009, the event’s biggest ever year.

Still, the tradition, begun in 1995, perseveres, and with any luck nice weather will encourage more volunteers to help clean up the city’s parks and lakeshores this year. Keeping waterways clean is a primary goal of the cleanup event, and the volunteers who pluck litter from streets and parkland keep that trash from polluting the lakes and streams of Minneapolis.

The 18th annual Minneapolis Earth Day Clean Up runs 9:30 a.m.–noon April 21 at 38 sites across the city. 

The event is open to people of all ages, and no pre-registration is required to participate. Trash bags are provided at the cleanup sites, but volunteers are encouraged to bring their own gloves, since each cleanup site has only a limited supply.

After arriving at a cleanup location, volunteers should check in at the registration table for garbage bags and instructions. Groups of 25 or more can contact Volunteer Coordinator Michelle Kellogg at 313-7778 for advice on which sites need more volunteers and can accommodate larger groups.

The list below includes only cleanup sites in Southwest neighborhoods, but a complete list is available at

Bryn Mawr:

— JD Rivers’ Children’s Garden, 2900 Glenwood Ave.

— Theodore Wirth Park, 3200 Glenwood Ave. (Wirth Beach parking lot)


— Bryant Square Park, 3101 Bryant Ave. S.


— Cedar Lake, Cedar Lake Parkway & West 25th Street

East Isles:

— Lake of the Isles, East Lake of the Isles Parkway & West 27th Street


— Lake Calhoun, 3000 E. Calhoun Parkway (Tin Fish restaurant)


— Kenny Park, 1328 W. 58th St.


— Kenwood Park, 2101 W. Franklin Ave.


— Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Park, 4055 Nicollet Ave. S.

Linden Hills:

— Lake Harriet, 4135 Lake Harriet Parkway (bandshell parking lot)


— Lynnhurst Park, 1345 W. Minnehaha Parkway

West Calhoun:

— Lake Calhoun, West Lake of the Isles Parkway & West 32nd Street

Run for Earth Day

As usual, the annual Minneapolis Recycle Run follows right on the heels of the annual cleanup.

The April 22 run takes place on the morning after cleanup event, and features both a timed 5-kilometer run around Lake Harriet Parkway and a half-mile children’s run on the same morning. Proceeds from the event benefit the Minneapolis Earth Day Clean Up and other environmental initiatives of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board.

Both runs start at the Lake Harriet Bandshell, 4135 Lake Harriet Parkway. The kids set off at 8:45 a.m., and the five-kilometer run begins at 9 a.m.

Early registration runs through April 17 online at The five-kilometer is $30 in advance or $35 on race day, and the half-mile kids’ run is free for children 11 years old and younger.

Participants get a Minneapolis Recycle Run T-shirt with registration, and the first 1,000 registered to run will get an aluminum water bottle.

More to recycle

A recent change in Minneapolis recycling rules means more plastic and paper products can now be tossed into household recycling bins.

The metro-area recycling companies that operate in Minneapolis have begun collecting a wider variety of plastics, and the city announced last year that it would soon offer expanded recycling options. That day has finally arrived, and now all plastics numbered 1–7 are accepted for recycling.

It used to be only the plastic products with the numbers 1 or 2 inside the triple-arrow recycling symbol — things like milk jugs, soda and water bottles and detergent bottles — were collected. Add to that list now yogurt containers, margarine tubs, deli containers, plastic bags and a range of other plastic products that previously weren’t collected.

Collection of paper-based recyclables also has expanded to include milk and juice cartons, pop and beer boxes and paper containers for broth, wine and other liquids. Give containers a thorough rinse before recycling.

Still on the do-not-recycle list are pizza boxes, egg cartons and any paper products soiled by food. Also not for the recycling bin are plastic motor oil bottles or other plastic containers that once held hazardous substances and Styrofoam.

Reach Dylan Thomas at