Green Notes January: Deconstruction, school recycling, and business and multifamily recycling grants available

green notes

Deconstruction grants available to homeowners and developers

Salvage, reuse, and recycle building materials from your next remodeling or construction project

Deconstruction project to harvest flooring lumber from house

To help divert waste from landfills, Hennepin County has grants available to homeowners and developers to deconstruct buildings to salvage building materials rather than demolish them.

Big opportunities to reuse and recycle building materials

Salvaged window from deconstruction home project

Many building materials have the potential to be salvaged and reused or recycled. In fact, about 85 percent of the materials in a typical demolition or remodeling project could be salvaged and kept out of landfills. But currently, only about 30 percent of building materials are reused or recycled.

Deconstruction involves carefully dismantling buildings to salvage materials for reuse. Commonly salvaged building materials include old growth lumber, doors, flooring, cabinets and fixtures.

Deconstruction provides numerous environmental and social benefits compared to standard demolition. Deconstruction prevents usable materials from going to the landfill, makes building materials available to the community, provides jobs, and supports local reuse retailers.

Grants help offset added time and labor costs

Construction workers deconstructing house framing

In a deconstruction project, a building is taken apart, mostly by hand, and materials are sorted into categories for efficient recycling and reuse. Compared to standard demolition techniques that use mechanical equipment to knock down structures, the additional labor costs and time with deconstruction can be a deterrent.

Homeowners and developers of residential properties can receive up to $5,000 to help offset the additional time and labor costs associated with deconstruction. Grants are available for demolition or renovation projects in Brooklyn Center, Edina, Minneapolis, and St. Louis Park that are 250 square feet or larger on structures built prior to 1950.

Learn more about the grants including eligibility and requirements at

For more information, contact Olivia Cashman at or 612-348-4843.

Reduce waste and improve recycling at your school

Apply now for a school recycling grant

Students taking out organics recycling from their classroom

School recycling grants are available to public and private, K-12 schools in Hennepin County to start or improve programs to reduce waste and keep recycling and organic materials like food and non-recyclable paper out of the trash.

Grant funding can be used to purchase equipment and supplies, including recycling and organics recycling containers, sorting stations, reusable food service ware, bulk condiment dispensers, organics hauling, and compostable bags.

Applications for grants of up to $50,000 are due by 4 p.m. on Thursday, February 27. Applications under $15,000 will be accepted on a rolling basis throughout the year as funds remain.

New this year

  • Streamlined process for ordering containers: Select containers available from a county-contracted vendor, and the county will take care of processing your order.
  • Preference given to projects that include waste prevention: $50,000 in grant funding will be reserved for grant activities that prevent or reduce waste.

Information meeting

Bring your project ideas, get questions about the program answered, and discuss other ways county staff can help make your project a success.

An information session will be held Thursday, February 6, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the St. Louis Park Library at 3240 Library Lane, St. Louis Park, MN 55426.

Or you can watch a recording of an online webinar information meeting.

You are encouraged to contact the program manager, Kira Berglund, to discuss project ideas at or 612-596-1498.

Recycling grants available for businesses, nonprofit organizations, and multifamily housing

Business recycling bin set up

Grant funding is available to reduce waste and start or improve recycling and organics recycling programs at businesses, nonprofit organizations, and multifamily properties.

Grants requesting $10,000 or less can be submitted at any time and are reviewed on an ongoing basis. Grants requesting more than $10,000 are accepted for review quarterly, with the first review on Friday, February 28.

The commercial sector generates more than half of the total waste in Hennepin County, and nearly two-thirds of the waste created at businesses and nonprofits is recyclable. A strong recycling program conserves natural resources, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, can help your bottom line, and demonstrates your organization’s commitment to sustainability and the community.

Fill out a business recycling request form to get started.


Fix-It Clinics

Fix-It Clinic volunteer helping woman make a sewing repair

Get household items fixed for free and learn valuable repair skills at an upcoming Fix-It Clinic. Bring in small household appliances, clothing, electronics, mobile devices and more and receive free guided assistance from volunteers with repair skills to disassemble, troubleshoot and repair your items. Hear how the program works and what a recent participant thought on CCX News.

Upcoming clinics are scheduled for:

  • Saturday, February 8 from noon to 4 p.m. at the Brooklyn Park Community Activity Center
  • Saturday, March 14 from noon to 4 p.m. at Burroughs Elementary School in Minneapolis
  • Saturday, April 11 from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Longfellow Recreation Center in Minneapolis 
  • Saturday, May 9 from noon to 4 p.m. at the St. Louis Park Recreation Center

Minnesota Aquarium Society winter auction and Habitattitude surrender

Habattitude logo

February 8 from 11 5 p.m.* at Redemption Lutheran Church (Gymnasium), 927 East Old Shakopee Road in Bloomington

*Surrender ends at 2 p.m., and fish and plants should be surrendered by noon for the best possible opportunities for rehoming via the auction.

Who's feeding the fish at your house? If you or someone in your home has lost interest in maintaining the aquarium or if your koi needs a new home, bring them to the Habitattitude surrender event. Surrendering your unwanted fish and aquatic plants at this event instead of releasing them into the environment helps prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species and offers an opportunity for them to be rehomed.

Green Tip: Successfully decluttering your home

Many people striving to live a lower-waste lifestyle must first get rid of some clutter, and the middle of winter can be a great time to clean out our homes.

Clutter can be several things: stuff we bring into our home, things without a place, bargain and impulse buys, supplies for aspirational goals, things that hold sentimental value, and waste that you haven’t had a chance to get rid of.

Clutter devalues your possessions, adds stress, and sucks up time. It can also be overwhelming to tackle. Follow these tips to make decluttering more manageable.

Set a specific goal

Maybe you want to be able to fit a car in your garage, be able to eat at your dining room table, or fit all your clothes in your closet with a little room to spare.

Whatever your aim, setting a specific goal will help keep you focused and motivated.

Man looking overwhelmed at garage shelves

Choose a method and set a time

Teenage girl looking at shirt and cleaning out closet

There are many ways to approach decluttering, so choose a method that works for you. Some options: the four-box method where you divide items into four boxes of categories you choose (common categories are keep, store, give away or sell, and toss) and then sort quickly. There’s also the room-by-room approach, where you start with easier spaces and move on to harder areas. And the popular KonMari method that focuses on what you want to keep because it sparks joy or serves a purpose.

Regardless of what method you choose, it’s important to set a time where you will do your decluttering and be sure to honor that time.

Know that getting rid of sentimental items is hard

Quilt made out of old t-shirts

There’s a lot of stuff we keep because it holds sentimental value, and it’s not easy to get rid of those items. Ask yourself why you’re holding on to these items and if there’s an alternative way to help capture that memory while also reaching your decluttering goals.

For stuff you are ready to get rid of, see our donation opportunities brochure (PDF) and Green Disposal Guide for options.

Take steps to prevent clutter in the first place

Woman shopping for shoes

Once you’ve made progress on your decluttering goals, it’s important not to add more clutter and end up back in the same situation. Some ways to prevent clutter are to make mindful purchases, be sure that everything you bring into your home has a place, and consider if you could borrow, rent, or go without an item.

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