Green Notes: Building reuse grants and fix-it repair tips and events

green notes

Building reuse grant funding available

Workers outside house with siding being taken off

When it’s time to remodel or demolish a building, many materials have the potential to be reused or recycled. In fact, about 85% of the materials in a typical demolition project could be salvaged for reuse and kept out of the landfills through practices like deconstruction and structural moves.

In addition, incorporating used building materials into remodeling projects helps “close the loop” by giving materials new life and avoids the impacts of new materials.

Types of grants available

Hennepin County has funding available for the following projects that reuse and recycle building materials:

  • Residential deconstruction grants: Funding for residential properties built prior to 1970 to deconstruct building materials and salvage them for reuse. See the residential deconstruction flyer (PDF) for more information.
  • Commercial deconstruction grants: Funding for commercial properties, including multifamily apartment buildings over four units, to deconstruct building materials for reuse. See the commercial deconstruction flyer (PDF) for more information.
  • Structural move grants: Funding to physically relocate a building to another location, avoiding demolition waste and preserving the cultural and historical integrity of the building. See the structural move flyer (PDF) for more information.
  • Used building material installation grants: A new grant to “close the loop” by funding remodeling, renovation, and new construction projects that incorporate used building materials into project designs. See the used building material installation flyer (PDF) for more information.

Apply for a building reuse grant

Applicants must be a property owner or developer in Hennepin County to apply for grants. Projects must meet the reuse and disposal criteria.

See building reuse grants eligibility for more details on project eligibility and to complete an application.

For more information, contact Olivia Cashman at

Tackling packaging waste through producer responsibility

Group of plastic products

Momentum for producer responsibility, which are policies that hold the producer of a product responsible for those products throughout the entire lifecycle, is building across the nation to address pressures on the recycling system and the abundance of packaging waste.

Developing a producer responsibility policy for Minnesota

Hennepin County, in partnership with Ramsey and Washington counties, has been working with the Product Stewardship Institute to develop a producer responsibility policy for packaging and paper products. A stakeholder committee convened over several months to develop core elements of the policy for Minnesota. Review the project summary (PDF) to learn more.

Next steps

As the project enters the next phase this summer, there will be opportunities to provide feedback on the elements of the policy for paper and packaging products for Minnesota. Review the draft policy elements (PDF), which will be updated based on feedback received and developed into bill language to be introduced in the 2023 Minnesota legislative session.

For more information, contact Mallory Anderson at

Federal grant will redevelop brownfield sites in areas of concern for environmental justice

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency recently received a $2 million grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for cleanup and redevelopment of properties in areas of concern for environmental justice. Two of the four target areas for the statewide grant are in Hennepin County – in Minneapolis along West Broadway Avenue and along Lake Street.

Staff from Hennepin County’s Contaminated Lands Unit will work with the state and regional partners on these projects over the five-year grant period. The grant presents an exciting opportunity to collectively make a difference in rebuilding small and family-owned businesses, creating green space, and developing affordable housing.

Learn more about the county's Environmental Response Fund and past projects that improved brownfields in the county at

Zero Waste Challenge participants take steps toward a low-waste lifestyle

Woman holding bathroom supplies with less packaging waste

Hennepin County’s Zero Waste Challenge, in which households get personalized help over eight months to make progress on their low-waste lifestyle goals, recently wrapped up with 42 household successfully completing the challenge.

By the numbers: impressive waste reduction results

Households made impressive progress on reducing their waste. Compared to the start of the challenge, households reduced their waste by about 24% and recycled or composted 75% of the waste they created.

Couple with organics recycling countertop container

Actions that helped reduce waste

How did they achieve these results? Some of the most common actions participants took include:

  • Starting curbside or drop-off organics recycling or backyard composting
  • Learning what is accepted for recycling so they can stop “wish-cycling”
  • Changing the way they shop to prevent wasted food and avoid packaging waste
  • Collecting more materials for recycling
  • Bringing reusable containers or utensils when on-the-go

What participants had to say

Participants said the challenge has “been very beneficial,” and people also reported that “learning new habits is fun!” 

Participants appreciated feeling like their efforts were a part of something larger:

"It feels great to do my part in helping to improve the environment, but it feels even more amazing to know my efforts are having a multiplying effect on the situation as a whole!"

Participate in the next challenge

In addition to the eight-month personalized challenge, the county offers several one-month online challenges each year. The Stop Food Waste Challenge is next, coming in August! Sign up to be notified about future opportunities to participate.


Fix-it Clinics are returning this summer

Get free help with your broken stuff and learn valuable repair skills

Fix-It Clinic volunteer holding tools working on a repair

Fix-It Clinics offer free, guided assistance from volunteers with repair skills to disassemble, troubleshoot, and (hopefully) fix small household appliances, clothing, electronics, mobile devices and more.

Fix-It Clinics teach valuable troubleshooting and basic repair skills, build community connections and reduce the number of repairable items that are thrown in the trash.

Attend a Fix-It Clinic

Clinics are held on the second Saturday of every month from noon to 4 p.m., with the last items accepted at 3:30 p.m. Events are first come, first served. No pre-registration required.

Items must be carry-in-sized. Bring any parts and supplies that might be helpful. The events are family friendly!

Upcoming Fix-it Clinics are scheduled for:

  • Saturday, June 11 at the Brookdale Library, 6125 Shingle Creek Parkway, Brooklyn Center
  • Saturday, July 9 at Gethsemane Lutheran Church, 715 Minnetonka Mills Road, Hopkins
  • Saturday, August 13 at Mount Olivet Lutheran Church, 5025 Knox Avenue South, Minneapolis

Learn more and see the full schedule of 2022 Fix-It Clinics at

Join the Hennepin County environmental education network and attend the next virtual meeting

About the environmental education network

Hennepin County coordinates an environmental education network that is open to anyone working to engage their community in learning about and taking action to protect the environment.

The network has quarterly meetings and a Facebook group that provide opportunities for environmental educators to learn about environmental topics, share resources and project ideas, and network.

Attend the next meeting focused on reducing food waste

June environmental education network meeting promo graphic

The next environmental education network meeting will be held virtually on Thursday, June 16 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. with optional networking from 6:30 to 7 p.m.

About 40% of food is wasted somewhere along the supply chain in the U.S., and much of that food waste happens at home. Bring your dinner and join us online to learn how to engage audiences in this important topic.

Amy Maas and Alisa Reckinger from Hennepin County will cover the following topics at this virtual network meeting:

  • What we know about food waste and people’s barriers and motivations for taking action.
  • Activities and resources to engage audiences in learning about and reducing food waste.
  • The county’s upcoming Stop Food Waste Challenge and partnership opportunities.

Register now.

Join the environmental education network Facebook group

The environmental education network Facebook group serves as a forum for collaboration around environmental, outdoor and place-based education and motivating environmental action. Members can use this group to share environmental education opportunities and resources, job postings, volunteer opportunities, success stories, and project updates.

Minnesota Water Steward Songs for Water summer solstice concert

Tuesday, June 21 from 5 to 8 p.m. at Powderhorn Park in Minneapolis

Songs for Water promo graphic

Celebrate the work of Minnesota Water Stewards to protect the health of our water at the Songs for Water summer solstice concert, hosted by Hennepin County artist and Minnesota Water Steward, Mary Traxler.

Minnesota Water Stewards is a program that certifies and supports community leaders to prevent water pollution and educate community members to conserve and protect our waterways. The program is a partnership between Freshwater and participating cities, counties, watershed management organizations, and nonprofit organizations. This year, Hennepin County is sponsoring eight residents to become Minnesota Water Stewards.

Find opportunities to buy used and swap goods on Choose to Reuse

Two women looking at clothing at outdoor clothing sale

Almost every weekend, there are special events held throughout Hennepin County to buy used goods and swap out stuff you no longer need. Hennepin County’s Choose to Reuse has made these events easy to find!

See a listing of upcoming events on the Choose to Reuse website, including occasional markets, clothing and goods swaps, citywide garage sales, retail store special events, community fundraising sales, and lending library events. Or sign up for Choose to Reuse news and events to get notification delivered right to your inbox!

Green Tip: Fix it! Repair strategies for clothing, electronics, and household goods

Person fixing zipper on jeans

In a world of fast fashion and rapid technological change, it’s easy to dismiss the idea of fixing items that need repair. You may not know an item can even be repaired, you may feel like you don’t have the skills to fix broken items, or you may not know where to take them for repair.

But the truth is, we can perform a lot of fixes ourselves. And if you need help, Hennepin County has lots of resources to assist you or perform the repair for you.

Get our guide to fix-it repair banner

A new guide available on Choose to Reuse, Hennepin County’s Guide to Fix-It Repair, Clothes, Home, and Electronics, has tutorials and resources to get your started on fixing common items, including:

  • Clothing: Get links to tutorials for common DIY clothing repairs, including sewing a button, fixing torn seams, replacing a drawstring, sewing a hem, patching a hole, darning a sock, and repairing zippers.
  • Electronics: Check with the manufacturer for troubleshooting easy fixes, search online for fix-it resources for your specific device, or visit the electronics repair section on for common repairs.
  • DIY home repairs: Find instructions for common household issues, including unclogging a dishwasher, repairing a leaky faucet, stopping a running toilet, troubleshooting an inefficient dryer, and clearing a jammed garbage disposal.

Not able to do it yourself? The guide also has listings of reuse and repair retailers in Hennepin County that can help!

Contact us



Follow us

facebooktwitterinstagramyoutubelinked in
Hennepin County