Choose to Reuse Today coupon books available, more metal and plastic to be recovered at Brooklyn Park Transfer Station, final 2011 medicine collection is October 8 in Orono and more in the September edition of Green Notes

Green Notes

September 2011

Green Notes covers environmental news, programs and events from Hennepin County.

Please take a few moments to read our stories, and share your feedback and ideas for protecting the environment. Also check out the archived issues.

Rational Energies to recover metals and plastic from trash at the Brooklyn Park Transfer Station

On September 13, the county board approved an agreement with Rational Energies HC, Inc. to separate and recover metal and plastic recyclable materials from the incoming municipal solid waste stream at the county’s Brooklyn Park Transfer Station.

Recovered metal and PETE plastics (bottles and jugs marked #1) will be recycled. The remaining plastic materials will be converted into fuel at a location in Plymouth. Rational Energies expects to recycle approximately 8,000 tons of metal and plastic and convert 14,000 tons of plastic into fuel from the 110,000 tons of waste delivered that will be delivered to the Brooklyn Park Transfer Station in 2012.

This new sorting process will:
  • Help the county meet its new recycling goals.
  • Save the county $1.1 million in transportation and disposal costs. 
  • Generate nearly $1 million in revenue through the access and lease agreements.  
  • Create jobs – Rational Energies will hire 12 to 15 employees from a community-based, social-service organization.

To provide space for the sorting, Hennepin County will stop accepting trash from residents at the drop-off facility on December 31, 2011. Look for updates at

For more information, email Dave McNary or call 612-348-5906.

Choose to Reuse Today

Choose to Reuse Today coupon books available

Hennepin is encouraging residents to shop reuse by offering Choose to Reuse Today coupon books with discounts at 80 participating reuse retailers. Coupon books are available at participating retailers, Hennepin County Libraries, Hennepin County Service Centers and all Three Rivers Park District locations. Coupon books can also be downloaded.

There has never been a better time to shop reuse. Shopping reuse saves you money, stimulates the local economy and preserves the environment.

For more information, email Kristin Pierskalla or call 612-348-4787.

Minneapolis one-sort pilot recycling project increases participation and collection amount

Minneapolis one sort pilot
About 1,000 households in the Willard-Hay and East Calhoun neighborhoods of Minneapolis are participating in a pilot one-sort recycling project in which all recycling is put out for pickup in one large cart.

In the first month of the pilot project, about 25 percent more households are recycling and the amount of material collected bi-weekly has nearly doubled.

The results of the pilot program, along with the results of a two-sort recycling pilot underway in the Seward neighborhood, will be presented to the City Council for consideration in future recycling operations. Hennepin County has provided technical assistance and education materials for the project.

For more information, email Dave McNary or call 612-348-5906.

Additional funding available through the Brownfield Cleanup Revolving Loan Fund

The county board recently accepted an additional $500,000 from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the Brownfield Cleanup Revolving Loan Fund.

There is currently $1.5 million in low-interest loan funds available for the investigation and clean up of contaminated sites.

For more information, email Dave Jaeger or call 612-348-5714.

Elementary students learn the importance of water at the Children’s Water Festival

Children's Water Festival
The 13th annual Children’s Water Festival was held at the Minnesota State Fair Grounds on September 28. During the festival, 1,300 fifth graders from 11 metro counties learned first-hand the importance of water.

Students explored a variety of water-related topics through stations and presentations on basic water science, the importance of wetlands and aquatic ecosystems, how to measure water quality and other water-related environmental issues.

The Children’s Water Festival is organized by 11 counties and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. Hennepin staff provides planning, volunteers and materials for presenters.

For more information, email Stacey Lijewski or call 612-348-9938.

Hennepin County Citizen’s Academy participants visit Environmental Services

On October 5, participants of Hennepin County’s first Citizen’s Academy will learn about the work of Environmental Services to protect the environment and conserve resources for future generations. Environmental Services’ implements programs that focus on the reduction and responsible management of wastes, the protection of natural resources and the promotion of environmental stewardship.

The Citizens Academy is a citizen engagement session that will be held twice a year and offers residents the opportunity to meet with county government leaders and learn about county services and activities.

In the News

Redevelopment project that has received cleanup funding from Hennepin County to reinvigorate a Minneapolis neighborhood

Plans are in place to renovate a century-old former hospital and long-term care facility in Stevens Square in Minneapolis into a 123-unit apartment building. The historic building has become a problem spot in the neighborhood since it was vacated in 2004, but the redevelopment plans should help revitalize the area.

The project has received nearly $500,000 from the county’s Environmental Response Fund for asbestos and lead-based paint abatement. Read more in the Star Tribune.


Medicine collection event in Orono

The final 2011 medicine collection event is being held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, October 8 in Orono. Join us at this event to properly and safely dispose of your unwanted and unused medications.

For materials accepted, event guidelines, event location and map to the event site, visit

Medicine Collection Event

Hennepin County Green Partners forum

Hennepin County is holding a forum for environmental education instructors, partners and organizations.

The forum will be an opportunity for our community partners to:
  • Network with and learn from other community members. 
  • Learn about the county’s new environmental programs and resources.
  • Share suggestions on improving the county’s environmental education materials and programs.

The forum will be held on October 25 from 9 to 11 a.m. at the University of Minnesota Urban Research and Outreach/Engagement Center in North Minneapolis.

Learn more and register at

For more information, email Ellie Jones or call 612-348-9352.

Green Tip

Find ways to save energy by checking out an energy meter from a Hennepin County library

Energy Meter
Easy-to-use Power Check energy meters are available for check out at libraries throughout the county or can be reserved online.

Using an energy meter will help you:
  • Identify high energy use appliances in your home.
  • Determine how much it costs to use appliances.
  • Predict your savings in reducing appliance use.
  • Calculate the cost-savings of replacing older equipment with energy-efficient models.
  • Identify "energy vampires" - appliances that use energy when switched off.
The energy meters come with home energy assessment instructions, worksheets, money-saving energy tips, and information about rebates and incentive programs.

In this issue:

Rational Energies to recover plastics and metal at the Brooklyn Park Transfer Station

Choose to Reuse coupon books available

Minneapolis one-sort pilot project

Additional funding available for Brownfields cleanup

Children's Water Festival

Citizen's Academy visit Environmental Services

In the News: Contaminated site redevelopment

Events: Medicine Collection Event in Orono; Green Partners Forum

Green Tip: Track energy use with an energy meter

701 Building

Environmental Services is moving

Environmental Services is moving to the 701 Building in downtown Minneapolis.

Effective October 24, 2011, our new address will be:

701 4th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55415-1600

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