A new statewide waste composition report developed by Burns & McDonnell suggests there is more Minnesotans can do to recycle and reduce climate change. The study, sponsored by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, reveals that Minnesotans are discarding a large amount of recyclable materials.
Minnesotans may not be living up to their reputation for environmental stewardship when it comes to recycling
MINNEAPOLIS — A new statewide waste composition report developed by Burns & McDonnell, an architecture, engineering and construction firm in Bloomington that also specializes in solid waste and recycling, suggests there is more Minnesotans can do to recycle and reduce climate change. The study, sponsored by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), reveals that Minnesotans are discarding a large amount of materials that are currently recyclable — materials that can be valuable resources in improving the environment and economic impacts in the state.
The findings indicate Minnesotans are throwing out large quantities of recoverable materials, including plastics and food waste. The percentage of plastics thrown away has increased from 11 percent to 18 percent and organics from 26 percent to 31 percent of the waste stream as compared to the 2000 study. According to Robert Craggs, solid waste and recycling practice leader at Burns & McDonnell, the trend speaks to the need to recycle more types of plastics, and to establish more opportunities to collect and recover organics in order to handle the large amount of food waste that is being discarded.
"There are program opportunities local governments can take advantage of that enable their citizens to be better stewards of the environment," said Craggs. "A good example of how we can harness food waste recovery in Minnesota is the Western Lake Superior Sanitary District's organics composting program."
The organics composting program run by the Western Lake Superior Sanitary District in Duluth, Craggs says, converts food scraps and yard waste into compost called Garden Green. The compost creates a valuable soil addition that improves soil fertility. Composting also conserves energy and water, reduces erosion, and helps decrease the use of natural resources.
The study was conducted to assist the MPCA and local governments with planning efforts associated with managing municipal solid waste. Solid waste and recycling experts at Burns & McDonnell completed the entire study within a five-month timeframe from May through September of 2013. The study was conducted at six different solid waste facilities throughout Minnesota — three in the Twin Cities metropolitan area and three in Greater Minnesota.
Solid waste and recycling experts at Burns & McDonnell provide expertise in planning, services procurement, feasibility, permitting, operations and program assessments, design, and construction oversight, as well as engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) projects. The firm plays a critical role in the successful implementation of solid waste and recycling projects and programs across the county.
For more information and a copy of the report that also reveals that Minnesotans are tossing away less paper and glass into the waste stream, go to www.pca.state.mn.us/ac966ux.
About Burns & McDonnell
Founded in 1898, Burns & McDonnell is a 100 percent employee-owned, full-service engineering, architecture, construction, environmental and consulting services firm. Burns & McDonnell is currently the 20th largest AEC firm in the Engineering News-Record Top 500 ranking. With the multidisciplinary experience of more than 4,300 professionals in more than 30 regional, national and international offices, Burns & McDonnell plans, designs, permits, constructs and manages facilities worldwide with one mission in mind — to make our clients successful. For more information about Burns & McDonnell, visit www.burnsmcd.com.
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