Menu

Zero Waste City

20130814_143906

Betsy Hodges Introduces “Zero Waste City” Policy

We must reuse and recycle all waste materials and stop the harmful practice of burning garbage while creating jobs and stimulating the Minneapolis economy

August 14, 2013 (Minneapolis) — Recognizing the harmful effects of burning garbage on Minnesota’s environment and low income families and the economic cost of failing to reuse and recycle materials, Minneapolis City Council Member and Sierra Club endorsed mayoral candidate Betsy Hodges outlined her “Zero Waste City” policy for Minneapolis:

“Zero Waste policy creates a win-win-win for Minneapolis. Less trash-burning means less money spent, fewer greenhouse gas emissions, and better use of our valuable land. Reusing and recycling our goods means cheaper materials and products for the community. The reuse and recycling process means substantial job creation for Minneapolis residents – jobs that are to a certain extent paid for by the materials they divert from Minneapolis’ incinerator.

“Burning garbage is severely hurting the environment and the residents of Minneapolis. Seventy percent of the waste burned in Hennepin County could and should be recycled. Burning garbage is an inefficient way of producing energy, and produces minimal economic benefit compared with recycling.  It is also a matter of social justice in Minneapolis: the ill effects of burning garbage fall disproportionately on low-income neighborhoods and people of color. The downtown Minneapolis garbage burner is ranked in the top five sources of key criteria pollutants, including carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, particulates, and sulfur dioxide in the City.

“Minneapolis, its residents, and its businesses are among the most philosophically pro-environment in the nation. Our city has every reason to stop burning so much garbage and join the likes of San Francisco, Seattle, and Austin in leading the nation in Zero Waste policy – particularly since Minneapolis businesses, nonprofits, and individuals are doing so. Working with partners and allies, I will implement a Zero Waste Policy for the City of Minneapolis as Mayor by:

  • Working with the County, State, and Federal Government to expand ease of use of hazardous waste collection and drop-off, ease restrictions on reuse, recycling, and organics recycling, increase product stewardship, and encourage the creation of longer-lasting, lighter products with less packaging and more reusable and recyclable materials.
  • Working with the City of Minneapolis to designate advisor/accountability representatives from the community, ensure that all City departments are well educated on Zero Waste, collaborate, and innovate, and change city operations to aggressively pursue Zero Waste and interim goals.
  • Working with Minneapolis Residents and Families to educate Minneapolitans on reuse, recycling, and take-back programs, minimizing waste, and avoiding incineration, and offer greater reuse, recycling, and organics recycling infrastructure, including expanding the Linden Hills organics recycling program pilot I spearheaded to the rest of Minneapolis.
  • Working with Businesses and Events Personnel to encourage internal Zero Waste policies and innovations, encourage take-back programs, transition to incentives and ordinances, and continue my work moving Minneapolis events toward Zero Waste.”

Betsy Hodges’ Zero Waste City policy will continue years of hard work on green initiatives, a hallmark of her career in public service. Before she worked to change the ordinance, events in Minneapolis were not required to recycle. Starting this year it is a requirement for all medium and large events in the city to recycle paper, glass, plastic and metals. She began the Linden Hills organics recycling pilot project, and with the implementation of the Zero Waste City policy, she will bring organics recycling to all of Minneapolis. She worked with Senator Franken’s Back to Work MN initiative retrofitting office buildings to increase energy efficiency and successfully fought for capital investments in bicycling projects, serving as lead advocate for Nice Ride on the City Council.

Betsy has had to push hard on environmental issues, but she has never walked away from a fight. Betsy will take on the entrenched interests fighting to keep the business of burning garbage and the contractors it supports afloat; aspiring to a Zero Waste City means aspiring to have nothing left to burn in Minneapolis’ garbage incinerator.

###

For Immediate Release, August 14, 2013

CONTACT: Aaron Wells, aaron@betsyhodges.org, (612) 751-4255

Backgrounder: Betsy Hodges’ Zero Waste City Policy

 

Zero Waste is a straightforward concept: produce as little waste as possible by making, using, and disposing of products in a way that results in reusable and recyclable materials. The pursuit of a Zero Waste City promotes thinking of and treating our used goods as materials rather than merely as waste – materials that can be reused, or broken down to create new source materials. It reflects the natural world, where “waste” to one is always a source material to another.

Zero Waste policy creates a win-win-win for Minneapolis. Less waste in landfills means less money spent, fewer greenhouse gas emissions, and better use of our valuable land. Reusing and recycling our goods means cheaper materials and products for the community. The reuse and recycling process means substantial job creation for Minneapolis residents – jobs that are to a certain extent paid for by the materials they divert from Minneapolis’ incinerator.

Minneapolis, its residents, and its businesses are among the most philosophically pro-environment in the nation. Our city has every reason to stop burning so much garbage and join the likes of San Francisco, Seattle, and Austin in leading the nation in Zero Waste policy – particularly since Minneapolis businesses, nonprofits, and individuals are doing so. Working with partners and allies, Betsy Hodges will implement a Zero Waste Policy for the City of Minneapolis.

Betsy Hodges’ Zero Waste City Policy

Working with the County, State, and Federal Government

  • Hennepin County: Partner with Hennepin County to expand the ease of use of hazardous waste collection and drop-off in the City of Minneapolis. Work with Hennepin County to make its “Fix-It Clinics” as widely available as possible to Minneapolis residents, reducing the need to wastefully replace appliances.
  • State of Minnesota: Partner with and lobby the State of Minnesota to ease restrictions that stand in the way of reuse, recycling, and organics recycling program, particularly with respect to yard waste (trimmings, leaves, etc.). Partner with the State of Minnesota on its efforts to increase product stewardship and extended product responsibility.
  • United States: Lobby the federal government to increase oversight of the chain of custody of waste materials to send more used materials back up the supply chain. Partner with the government to encourage producers to create longer-lasting, lighter products with less packaging that are made of reusable and recyclable materials.

Working with the City of Minneapolis

  • Transparency: Designate advisor/accountability representatives from the community to aid in the formation and implementation of Zero Waste policy and to hold the city accountable for its activities.
  • Education: Ensure that all City departments are fully and continually briefed on Zero Waste policy and encouraged to collaborate and innovate.
  • Aggressively Pursue Zero Waste and Interim Goals: Change City operations to ensure that the products used are comprised of reusable and recyclable materials to the fullest extent possible. Utilize all recycling, organics recycling, reuse, and take-back programs. Reduce the use of paper and non-biodegradable plastics in all City operations.

Working with Minneapolis Residents and Families

  • Education: Encourage Minneapolitans to prioritize eliminating waste on a voluntary basis through a public education campaign on reusing products and materials, hazardous waste collection, recycling, and organics recycling (composting). Advertise take-back programs by participating retailers through city media outlets.
  • Reuse Infrastructure: Create and publicize a list of top-priority, in-demand reusable materials (toys, wood, leather, etc.) and ensure there are one or more drop-off locations for each material in Minneapolis. Partner with Minneapolis reuse nonprofits and businesses to maintain a current list of in-demand items and drop-off locations in the City.
  • Organics Recycling (Composting) Infrastructure: Expand the pilot organics recycling program – a stunning success that was spearheaded by Betsy Hodges in the Linden Hills and East Calhoun neighborhoods and resulted in over 476 tons of organics being collected in 2012 – to cover the entire city of Minneapolis.
  • Waste Management Infrastructure: Negotiate recycling and waste hauling contracts with a resource management component that takes account of how waste is handled and materials are diverted away from waste streams, in addition to the quantity of waste hauled.

Working with Businesses and Events Personnel

  • Internal Policies: Provide educational resources to businesses to help develop internal Zero Waste policies, as leading businesses and universities have done throughout America and the world. Incentivize businesses to develop new free market innovations to reach Zero Waste goals. Encourage retailers to work with suppliers on take-back programs for product and packaging materials – particularly those that are difficult to reuse or recycle locally.
  • Transition to Incentives and Ordinances: Work with local businesses to ease into incentives and ordinances aimed at reducing waste, creating waste diversion plans for construction and demolition products, and decreasing – and eventually eliminating – the use of harmful, non-reusable, non-recyclable materials.
  • Zero Waste Events: Continue working with individuals and organizations to encourage major events to adopt a Zero Waste policy, by continuing Betsy Hodges’ leadership role in making recycling and organics recycling services available to events. Continue Betsy’s partnership with the Parks Board on increasing the availability of reuse and recycling services.

 

Goals

I am very proud of my vote for Minneapolis’ Climate Action Plan. Consistent with the goals stated in that plan, my Zero Waste City policy will help us achieve 30% fewer greenhouse gas emissions and reach a composting rate of 15% of the waste stream by 2025.

 

Garbage Burning: A 1980s Solution to a 21st Century Problem

Burning garbage is terrible for the environment and for the residents of Minneapolis. Seventy percent of the waste burned in Hennepin County could and should be recycled: paper, cardboard, plastic, and organic waste. Burning garbage is a particularly inefficient way of producing energy, and produces minimal economic benefit compared with recycling.  It is also a matter of social justice in Minneapolis: the ill effects of burning garbage fall disproportionately on low-income neighborhoods and people of color. The downtown Minneapolis garbage burner is poisoning Minnesota’s environment, and ranked in the top five sources of key criteria pollutants in the City, including carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, particulates, and sulfur dioxide.

Betsy Hodges: An Environmental “Champion”

State Rep. Frank Hornstein’s Endorsement

“Candidates for public office this year should embrace a Zero Waste Solution through recycling and composting rather than promoting garbage incinerators and their toxic effects on our health and environment. Betsy Hodges is a solid champion on this and a long list of environmental justice issues. That is why I’m proud to support her for Mayor of our great city.”

The Sierra Club’s Endorsement

“Among a pool of several very talented and promising candidates—including some with excellent environmental records and ideas—Council Member Hodges rose to the top. Her stance on the issues aligns very well with the Sierra Club’s priorities. . . . [S]he can be trusted to champion environmental issues with regularity and by instinct. With the city in tight financial straits, we feel that she is the candidate best-suited to lead Minneapolis toward a financially sustainable future, while prioritizing socially and environmentally sustainable policies. Betsy Hodges has been a consistent friend of the Sierra Club as a member of the City Council, and has built the relationships during her tenure there to get things done.”

Betsy’s Record on the Environment

Betsy has made leadership on green initiatives a hallmark of her career. She has led key initiatives that have advanced recycling in Minneapolis. Before she worked to change the ordinance, events in Minneapolis were not required to recycle. It was voluntary. Starting this year it is a requirement for all medium and large events in the city to recycle paper, glass, plastic and metals. In addition, taking the lead from her friends at Linden Hills Power and Light, Betsy worked with city staff to create the organics recycling pilot project in Linden Hills and expanded to Seward. With the implementation of the Zero Waste City policy, she will bring organics recycling to all of Minneapolis. She worked with Senator Franken’s Back to Work MN initiative retrofitting office buildings to increase energy efficiency and successfully fought for capital investments in bicycling projects, serving as lead advocate for Nice Ride on the City Council. Betsy has had to push hard on environmental issues, but she has never walked away from a fight. Betsy will take on the entrenched interests fighting to keep the business of burning garbage and the contractors it supports afloat; aspiring to a Zero Waste City means aspiring to have nothing left to burn in Minneapolis’ garbage incinerator.