Hello! Thank you for reviewing information regarding Dakota County s first residential organics drop off location.

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1 Hello! Thank you for reviewing information regarding Dakota County s first residential organics drop off location. 1

2 This presentation will discuss what organics recycling is, an overview of the residential organics dropsite location, details about what s accepted (and what isn t) in the program, and go over some frequently asked questions. 2

3 First and foremost, thank you to everyone who has signed up to participate! We have received an overwhelming response to this program. Thank you for your excitement and making this program possible! 3

4 If organics and organics recycling are new terms for you, you re not alone. Organics is anything that was once alive all food, non recyclable paper like tissues and paper towels, certified compostable products that have been certified by BPI or Cedar Grove, and other compostable material like egg cartons and toilet paper rolls. The food does not need to be organic. 4

5 Organics recycling is the collection of food scraps and non recyclable paper. When you ve filled your organics bag, bring it to the drop off location. These materials are brought to a commercial compost facility where staff monitor the piles of organic matter. Composting is the process where the organic matter is broken down by natural bacteria and microorganisms and turned into compost or humus, or the nice, rich black dirt full of nutrients. We then use this compost to grow plants and crops, which we then consume and collect in our kitchen and the process starts all over again! 5

6 One of the biggest questions we receive is Why are we doing this? Why does it matter? Well, for a lot of reasons. Nearly 1/3 of what s in the trash is organics. Recycling organics keeps this massive amount of material out of landfills. This affects us on a local level because a Dakota County Board Goal is to create a clean and green place to live and work. Organics recycling helps keep organics out of the trash and puts them to use to make compost. On a regional level, Dakota County is accountable to the State of Minnesota s Pollution Control Agency with our Solid Waste Master Plan. We have the very ambitious targets of increasing our recycling rate to 75% by We re at about 50% right now, so we need to divert the organics out of the trash. On a global scale, when organic matter is in landfills, it can t decompose like it does in a compost pile. When garbage piled on top of organic materials at the landfill, it decomposes without oxygen and produces methane, which is a more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide 25x more powerful. 6

7 Several types of collection programs exist across the region to keep organics out of the trash can. They include: Curbside pick up with yard waste (St. Louis Park does this) Curbside pick up by itself (Minneapolis does this) Drop off locations (Ramsey County does this) Dakota County chose to start with a drop off location because it is a cheaper to start than curbside collection and we want to judge how many people would be willing to collect their organics. The pilot residential organics dropsite at Thompson County Park is open to all Dakota County residents during the hours of 5 am to 10 pm. Since this is a pilot project, we ll be using your feedback to understand barriers to the program and develop solutions, as well as identify components that worked well in case we expand the program by adding more dropsites in the future. 7

8 Organics collection programs are different than backyard composting because they can accept more materials such as bones, mean, dairy items, and certified compostable products. The compost piles at commercial compost facilities reach much higher temperatures than backyard piles which can kill weeds, seeds, and bacteria. Materials accepted in the program include: Any and all food (meat, bones, and dairy included; moldy, rotten, and half eaten food; pits, shells, and skins) Non recyclable paper (paper towels, tissues, napkins, paper towel and toilet paper rolls, egg cartons, greasy or cheesy pizza boxes Tea bags Animal fur and hair Coffee grounds and filters Trimmings from your household plants and dead flowers Products that are certified compostable by BPI or Cedar Grove Hair Popsicle sticks, toothpicks, chopsticks 8

9 This program accepts a lot of material, but we can t accept everything, including: Yard waste (grass clippings, tree and shrub branches, leaves, etc.) bring to a yard waste facility Diapers and sanitary products trash Cartons recycle Fast food wrappers trash because they are lined with plastic Dryer lint and dryer sheets trash because they container synthetic fibers from our clothes Cleaning or baby wipes trash because they have chemicals Stickers on produce trash because they do not breakdown in the compost pile Pet waste, litter, or bedding trash Styrofoam trash Non certified compostable products trash Grease or oil bring to the Recycling Zone Paper towels with chemical cleaners trash Frozen food boxes trash because they are lined with plastic Yard waste is organic but is collected separately. This allows the compost facilities to put in 9

10 just the right amounts of food scraps and yard waste. If it were mixed when it arrived at the facility, the ratio would always be different and harder to balance. 9

11 Plastic lined products are more frequently popping up into our everyday life. Did you know that most paper cups you get from fast food places and coffee shops are lined with plastic? These include fast food drink cups, coffee cups from gas stations or coffee shops, fast food wrappers, and most paper plates. Materials that are lined with plastic are not accepted because the plastic lining does not break down and the finished compost will contains bits of plastic. Also, regular plastic bags are not accepted. Only certified compostable bags or paper bags are accepted in our program. 10

12 Companies are trying to sell products that appear to be compostable, but aren t. Only materials that say certified compostable by BPI or Cedar Grove are accepted. These products have been tested and verified that they will decompose at a commercial compost facility. Look for the BPI logo on product packaging. 11

13 If you re confused, we have resources to help. 12

14 Participating in the program brings a lot of benefits. Since the average household generates nearly 9 pounds of organics per week, you will be able to divert that material from the trash. This means you may be able to reduce the size of your trash container. If you re a backyard composter, you can do both! The organics program complements backyard composting because more materials are accepted at the dropsite, like meat, bones, and dairy. Using compost has a lot of benefits. It s nutrient rich, reduces the need for chemical fertilizers, and reduces soil erosion. Lastly, there s no cost to participating in this program, so why not sign up? 13

15 To participate, you must sign up via or call Once signed up, you will receive the access code to get into the dropsite. Simply start collecting your organics and non recyclable paper, bring them to the drop off location, grab a free bag at the drop off location, and start again. 14

16 You don t need a fancy container to start collecting organics at your home. You can use anything, from a coffee container to an ice cream pail. Just label it so everyone knows what should go inside. You can purchase the containers online or at hardware stores. 15

17 The organics collected through this program will be brought to a commercial compost facility, SET/The Mulch Store, in Rosemount. Organics recycling does not smell worse than the trash. It s the same material you re generating before, just in a different container, so the smell will be the same. Most people have had fruit flies at some point, even people who don t collect organics for organics recycling. Fruit flies are attracted to rotting food, whether it is in your organics recycling container or in the trash. To cut down on fruit flies, cover your organics recycling container, drop your materials off at the dropsite at least weekly, and clean your container. 16

18 Yes, all materials, except for pizza boxes and egg cartons, need to be in a certified compostable bag or paper bags. All bags must be closed. If using a certified compostable bag, tie it by hand. Do not use twist ties or rubber bands. If using a paper bag, simply roll the top. Do not use staples to close the bag. Please reach out to Dakota County via or phone if you have questions. 17

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