After the Hennepin County Board adopted its 2017-2020 Residential Recycling Funding Policy, which reduces funding for city traditional curbside recycling programs through 2020, the Brooklyn Park City Council has considered options for organics recycling in the city.
Council members said they would not support requiring residents to keep an additional collection can for organics recycling. Council members asked staff members to conduct a survey to measure resident interest in an organics recycling program.
Before the county board approved its new recycling policy, the county distributed state Select Committee on Recycling and the Environment funding based on the number of households in a city. Brooklyn Park has used these funds to reduce resident recycling fees. These funds were originally made available in the early 1990s in an effort to help create a market for curbside recycling pickup programs. Now that curbside recycling is stable in the metro, the county has decided to try to create a similar market for organics recycling.
In 2017, the county will set aside 20 percent of this funding to reimburse costs associated with residential curbside organics recycling. Additionally, the county will withhold an additional 10 percent of this funding each year through 2020, so that by 2020, 50 percent of this funding stream will be allocated to curbside organics recycling.
The city is planning to receive $180,170 from the county in 2017, $157,649 in 2018, $135,128 in 2019 and $112,607 in 2020.
Dan Ruiz said the city will likely need to raise recycling fees. Recycling Manager Tim Pratt said even if the county had not changed its policy, the city would likely need to raise recycling fee rates in coming years.
Trash composition studies by the state and county have shown that approximately 20.7 to 40.8 percent of refuse in the area could be composted.
Pratt presented three organics recycling methods used in other cities in Hennepin County that the city could adopt.
For instance, Minneapolis has a contract for separate hauler collection similar to a traditional curbside recycling program. All residents pay a collection fee. Residents that choose to opt-in to weekly collection receive a separate organics cart, and a separate organics truck hauls the materials to a compost facility.
Some council members said they would not support adopting a similar model in the city. Mayor Jeff Lunde said the addition of another cart would be an undue burden on residents, who are already required to keep trash and recycling carts stored in their garages.
Councilmember Terry Parks said he would be worried about adding additional haulers on the road, when the city already has a large number of haulers on the street collecting trash and recycling.
If the council were to select this option, the city would likely issue a separate request for proposals or allow for alternate bids for organics collection in its recycling request for proposals.
Other cities, such as Wayzata and St. Louis Park, have adopted co-collection models. These models use a product from Organix Solutions called Blue Bag Organics, which allows residents to place organics in a separate bag that is collected either with trash or yard waste and separated from the waste stream after collection. In this model, all residents would pay for collection whether they use it or not. This model is currently not offered by any hauler in Brooklyn Park.
A third model, currently in use in Minnetonka, uses a resident subscription for co-collection. This model also uses the Blue Bag product for co-collection with trash or yard waste. Currently, only Randy’s Environmental Services offers this option in the Brooklyn Park market. While Randy’s would not tell Pratt the total number of customers they have in the city, there are currently six households in the city already using Randy’s organics services.
Councilmember Bob Mata said none of the options seemed viable for the city.
Councilmember Mark Mata said the city should encourage restaurants in the city to engage in organics recycling.
Models that require all residents to pay for organics recycling have higher rates of participation.
Contact Kevin Miller at [email protected]