Green Ramsey Newsletter - July 2016 Issue

Ramsey County Logo

Green Ramsey 

An Environmental Health Newsletter from Ramsey County - July 2016




Saturday, July 23, 2016
Fix-It Clinic
10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
New Brighton Library
400 10th St. N.W. 
New Brighton
Open to the public.

Saturday, August 27, 2016
Fix-It Clinic
10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Arc's Value Village Thrift Store
1650 White Bear Ave. N.
Saint Paul
Open to the public.


Be Active! Be Green! Recycling Container Grants
Need a recycling container in a park or public building? Our Be Active! Be Green! grant program is available for public entities to purchase recycling containers. Help make recycling easier when on-the-go. Call 651-266-1179 for more information.

Recycling Bins for Events
Hosting an event? Call 651-266-1199 for temporary bottles and cans recycling and organics recycling bins, or reserve them online. 

Calling all business organizations in the East Metro! Got a great idea to get other businesses to go green? Use our green to get going!

Public Entity Innovation Grants
Do you have an innovative idea to increase recycling through your city, school, park board, library or watershed district? Grants are available to help kick-start your idea! Call 651-266-1199 or email

Waste collected in Ramsey and Washington Counties and beyond is hauled to the Recycling & Energy (R&E) Center to be turned into fuel for energy. Click here to learn more about R&E Center tours. The R&E Center is owned by the Ramsey/Washington Recycling & Energy Board.


Green Ramsey is published by the Environmental Health Division of Saint Paul - Ramsey County Public Health

2785 White Bear Ave. N.
Suite 350, Maplewood, MN 55109




Main Photo

Success Stories:

Floral Business Trims Trash Costs

Because Saint Paul Floral produces a large amount of organic waste from flower trimmings, the florist’s owner, Gini Perry, contacted BizRecycling and their associates to begin organics collection. Gini received a BizRecycling Grant that covered all of the costs to begin organics collection, and now Saint Paul Floral diverts about 17,000 pounds of organic waste from landfills. Not only that, but the florist is saving about $3,400 in hauling costs every year. It’s a win-win for Saint Paul Floral and the environment! BizRecycling is a program of the Ramsey/Washington Recycling & Energy Board.


Recycling Campaign Wins Award

The Ramsey Recycles campaign received the first place Northern Lights Award on Thursday, May 19th from the Minnesota Association of Government Communicators (MACG) in the category of Public Information Project. Ramsey County launched the Ramsey Recycles campaign to increase awareness, provide education, and engage the community on recycling. The campaign includes ads on bus sides, billboards, shelters, print, radio, television, video, and more, and features local residents from diverse communities and ages. MAGC is a peer organization of communications professionals who are dedicated to improving public-sector communications.

News You Can Use:

Managing Pesticides Safely

Did you know that pesticides have a shelf life? Manufacturers generally recommend storing pesticides no longer than two years. As you clean out your garage, bring any expired pesticides to a Ramsey County household hazardous waste collection site. It’s free! 

Learn more about managing pesticides from the University of Illinois Extension.


Hazardous Waste Inspections: Reducing the Risk

What do you think of when you hear the words “hazardous waste generator” – men in moon suits or acres of drums? What about your dentist, mechanic or child’s school?

These are just a few examples of the 1,800+ companies licensed by Environmental Health for hazardous waste generation. Typical waste includes oil-based paints, cleaning solvents, used oil, car batteries, and fluorescent lamps; nothing too far out or uncommon. We also license 14 hazardous waste facilities; businesses that treat, store, dispose of, or recycle other companies’ hazardous waste, keeping our five inspectors busy!

Free Organics Recycling Starter Kits

Ramsey County is again offering free organics recycling starter kits to residents. They include a small bin with locking cover, compostable bags, step-by-step instructions and reminder magnets.

Kits will be available mid-July for pick up at the Ramsey County yard waste sites (except Arden Hills) during normal site hours; just ask a site monitor about the kits. Residents can also participate in an organics recycling loyalty program to earn a free t-shirt.


The Problem with Plastic Bags

Americans use 100 billion plastic bags every year, but many of those are not recycled. Recycle plastic bags at your local grocery or retail stores. Do not put them in your curbside recycling cart since they cause problems at recycling centers. Also,choose reusable bags when you can! For a free reusable bag, contact us at 651-266-1199 or

County-Owned Recycling & Energy Center

On December 31, 2015, the Ramsey/Washington Recycling & Energy Board, formally known as the Ramsey/Washington County Resource Recovery Board, took a significant step towards improving the environment and achieving their common vision of increasing recycling and gaining the most value out of trash by purchasing the Resource Recovery Technologies Facility. The facility, now named the Recycling & Energy Center (R&E Center), shreds waste to create fuel for energy. 

Owning the R&E Center opens the door for continued and new environmentally friendly waste management opportunities, including managing trash as a resource. To help reach Minnesota’s goal of 75% recycling by 2030, the R&E Board plans on investing in a sophisticated, new sorting mechanism at the R&E Center, called mixed-waste processing. This system allows for food waste and high-value recyclables to be sorted out of the trash received at the R&E Center. The organic waste would then be available for anaerobic digestion or composting, creating biofuels and compost. If implemented, mixed-waste processing will create new jobs at the facility.

An important next step in the future of resource management in the East Metro is the completion of a waste designation plan. Under the law the counties can direct trash to be delivered to a processing facility. The counties are preparing a designation plan to be submitted for state approval. Updates about this process can be found by visiting


We Need Your Feedback

Ramsey County, working jointly with Washington County, is taking the next step in resource management since its purchase of the Recycling and Energy Center in Newport. As planned, the two counties are moving forward to plan for and implement waste designation. Waste designation is a term used in Minnesota law that permits the counties to enact an ordinance (regulatory tool) requiring all or a portion of solid waste to be delivered to a designated waste management facility. Sometimes called “flow control,” waste designation can be put into place after a thorough planning process is approved by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. An amendment to the county’s solid waste master plan, and a joint designation plan, are available for comment at (click on “Designation”). Comments are due by July 6th.

Did You Know?

Saint Paul – Ramsey County Public Health conducts approximately 450 public swimming pool inspections per year. From community centers and health clubs to apartments and condos, inspectors check the pool chemistry and mechanicals to ensure that the water has adequate disinfectant. They also check these safety features:

  • Ring buoys and life hooks are present
  • Proper signage
  • Bottom drain cover on securely  
  • Pool access properly restricted by doors and gates
  • Pumps, filters, and chlorinators properly working

If an inspection is unsatisfactory, the pool is closed until areas of concern are addressed. So you can swim this summer knowing Ramsey County public pools are safe.

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