Garbage burning decision still smoldering in Minneapolis

Should the Hennepin County incinerator (HERC) be allowed to burn an additional 212 tons of garbage each day? HERC’s proposal, now entering the third year of hearings and appeals, returned to the Minneapolis city council’s Zoning & Planning committee on February 28. Several residents took time off from their work to appear at the meeting. A neighbor from southeast Como, Jill Ruzicka expressed her frustration that the council members are “dragging this out” and “not taking this opportunity to deny the expansion.” But her testimony, along with all the others, was not heard until after the council had already taken a vote to extend the appeal. Councilmember Lisa Goodman initially moved to continue the appeal until December but Councilmember Gary Schiff proposed a substitute motion that will bring it up as soon as the Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) is completed. Continue Reading

100 million tons of unlovable plastic: The container-bottom numbers game

Every year 1.3 percent of the world’s crude oil and an equal amount of energy are used in the production of 100 million tons of plastic packaging that we will toss out almost immediately after we buy it. This is called “post-consumer” plastic and according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, only eight percent of the plastic we throw away gets recycled. Until recently what was accepted for curbside recycling were only bottles with a neck and the symbol #1 or #2 inside tiny recycling arrows. Now some local recycling programs have added more plastics but what is accepted differs by community, creating confusion as to what to put in our blue bin and whether this stuff is getting recycled.Recently, Minneapolis announced that it will collect for recycling all plastics, labeled #1-#7. Hennepin County now requires recyclers to start picking up plastics labeled #3, #4 and #5 by the end of 2012. Continue Reading