'Stop treating us like garbage' campaign aims to boost recycling effortsAnnual recycling reports from counties in Minnesota show recycling rates in the state have leveled off since the 1990s. Although Minnesota has one of the higher recycling rates in the country, valuable recyclable material continues to be tossed in the garbage
By: Staff Report, Alexandria Echo Press
Annual recycling reports from counties in Minnesota show recycling rates in the state have leveled off since the 1990s. Although Minnesota has one of the higher recycling rates in the country, valuable recyclable material continues to be tossed in the garbage.
In 2007, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) partnered with the Recycling Association of Minnesota to create the Recycle More Minnesota campaign to get Minnesotans to start recycling more. After studying state and local recycling data, and conducting research and focus groups, the team confirmed Minnesotans wanted easy and convenient access to recycling service and more information on the benefits of recycling other than “it’s good for the environment.” To provide information about the benefits and basics of recycling, the team created http://www.recyclemoreminnesota.org, a one-stop-shop for recycling information as part of the campaign to increase Minnesota’s recycling rate.
To provide more assistance to residents and counties, the website was recently updated to make it more interactive and user-friendly. The home page now features an interactive map of the state: users can click on their counties and view information about what can be recycled, where recyclables are collected, and whom to contact for answers to other recycling-related questions.
In addition to the interactive map, toolkits focused on getting the word out that recyclables aren’t garbage were also repackaged on the site. Citizens will find fact sheets, advertisements and other materials that can be used in their county, schools or businesses to help implement a recycling campaign with ready-made, customizable resources.
“Recycling not only saves energy and resources, but is a significant source for jobs in the state,” said Johanna Kertesz from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. The MPCA estimates nearly 20,000 jobs are directly and indirectly supported by companies that manufacture products with recycled materials. Using recycled materials for new products also saves energy: it takes 90 percent less energy to make an aluminum can from recycled content, 50 percent less energy to make products from recycled glass, and 70 percent less energy to make recycled paper.
“Recycling at work, at home, or on the go keeps materials out of the waste stream,” said Kertesz. “There are many great reasons to recycle, from saving energy and conserving resources to creating jobs and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It is easy to find a reason to make a commitment to recycle more.”