Recycle more, benefit more

By Kaia Johnson Kemper 

Guest Columnist


The Twin Cities area is a national leader in recycling. And, still, recycling rates have flattened since the 1990s. The region is committed to recycling 47-51 percent of our garbage by 2020. Right now, we recycle just over 46 percent.

Recycling conserves natural resources, creates jobs (36,000 in Minnesota) and generates tax revenue ($64 million each year). To increase the region’s recycling success, each of us has a role to play at home, at work and on the go.

At home

Curbside collection makes recycling easy and convenient. To maximize the amount you recycle at home, get a recycling bin from your city and place recycling containers throughout your home where you generate the most recycling – think about the recyclables you generate in your bathroom, kitchen, where you sort your mail, etc.

Learn what to recycle by reviewing a list of commonly accepted materials on our website,, or by contacting your city. For recycling program and schedule information, call your city or your recycling service provider.

If you live in an apartment building, talk to your building manager about your recycling service. If recycling isn’t available, contact your city recycling coordinator or county for help.

At work

Visit to follow our five easy steps to business recycling and learn about going green at work. Be the recycling champion at your workplace. Join the Recycling Revolution today by taking the recycling pledge. Connect to free resources available from Rethink Recycling and your county.

On the go

Remembering to recycle while away from home is important, too. There are many things you can do to reduce waste and recycle during family celebrations and while traveling. Bring a bag to collect recyclables. Use reusable dishware, mugs and bags. Write letters to event organizers suggesting they add recycling to their event or thank them for having recycling available. Find more tips on recycling while away from home at

Recycling has come a long way since 1979 when the region established the hierarchy of waste management that emphasizes waste reduction and recycling. We’ve made some great efforts to develop and grow recycling programs, but there’s always more we can do.

Each resident and business has a role to play in maximizing our recycling efforts. Each of us also will enjoy the benefits to our environment and economy that recycling brings. It’s a win-win situation!


About The Solid Waste Management Coordinating Board launched its first education outreach campaign in 2003 to help citizens living in Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey and Washington understand the urgent need to make environmentally responsible purchasing and disposal decisions in their daily lives. The board is proud to sponsor its current campaign,