City of Minneapolis Sustainability Update - Fall 2017

Sustainability banner

Fall 2017

Welcome to the Fall 2017 Minneapolis Sustainability Update

As the leaves and temperatures continue to fall, there are plenty of ways that you can save energy and money, reduce waste, and live more sustainably. Green Tips: Keep leaves out of streets and storm drains to protect nearby lakes and streams, compost your pumpkins this Halloween, and/or apply for a environmental committee!

This quarterly newsletter contains resources, initiatives, and opportunities to get involved in Minneapolis.

Thank you for your help and support of Minneapolis sustainability!

Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.


Energy & Climate

Citywide greenhouse gas emissions reduction goal acheived


Minneapolis greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from citywide activities decreased 17.8% in 2015 compared to the 2006 baseline, exceeding the City's reduction goal of 15% by 2015. 

The City now looks toward achieving its next greenhouse gas reduction target goals of 30% by 2025 and 80% by 2050 compared to the 2006 baseline.

Minneapolis posts deleted EPA climate change data

Minneapolis has joined cities around the country in posting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s deleted climate data. The posted data is a snapshot of the EPA site before climate change information was removed. Recognizing that climate change is real, the City is helping make sure people have access to information on it. 

The webpages contain information on the basic science behind climate change, the ways weather is impacted from increased greenhouse gas emissions and actions the federal government has taken to reduce the impact.

Other cities, academic institutions and organizations can post the same information to their own websites. 

Major cities including Atlanta, Boston, Houston, San Francisco and Seattle have also posted the information.

The EPA’s deleted climate data is posted here:

Now is the time to service your home heating system to improve safety, efficiency, and save money

Be sure to check out the Minnesota Department of Commerce’s energy saving tips to save energy and money as temperatures drop!

Tips include:

  • Change your air filter regularly.
  • Tune up your heating equipment yearly.
  • Install a programmable or smart thermostat.
  • Air seal your heating and cooling ducts.
  • Consider installing ENERGY STAR-qualified heating and cooling equipment.

Now recruiting for the Northern Metals Consent Decree Advisory Committee

The Northern Metals Consent Decree Advisory Committee is being established to provide recommendations on how the funds from the Northern Metals Decree will be spent in Minneapolis. The City of Minneapolis is asking for community input on how to identify and outreach residents with asthma or a potential for lead poisoning and how to utilize $200,000 a year for three years within the impacted neighborhoods of Sheridan, Bottineau, McKinley and Hawthorn with the four items allowed in the consent decree.

(1) Identify and educate at-risk residents on asthma triggers.
(2) Enroll families with children suffering from poorly controlled asthma in a new asthma trigger mitigation program.
(3) Implement community and block-by-block blood lead level screening events in cooperation with local clinics which will offer follow-up venous screening as needed.
(4) Identify and connect affected individuals with resources to help reduce environmental exposure to lead.

Deadline: To receive application will be Friday, October 20, 2017. Click here to apply and learn more.

First Southside Green Zone Task Force meeting

The first Southside Green Zone Task Force meeting will be held Tuesday, October 17 from 5-8 p.m. and will be open to the public. 

Contact for more details.

Green Zones

2017 Building Energy Challenge Awards


Which are the top performing buildings in Minneapolis?

What energy saving projects have been accomplished in them?

At the Building Energy Challenge Awards, Council Member Glidden will help us celebrate energy efficiency progress in Minneapolis commercial buildings. Join us to hear their inspiring stories and connect with resources to implement similar energy saving projects in your own building.

When: Nov. 2nd, 2:30-3:30pm  

Where: Minneapolis City Hall Rotunda

Building managers, owners, operators, tenants, and general public are invited.  RSVPs appreciated

2017 ENERGY STAR building certification deadline Extended

energy star

The EPA has announced that the deadline for submitting applications for 2017 ENERGY STAR building certification is Friday, December 15, 2017. They have extended the deadline this year to accommodate those needing extra time due to impacts of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Applications received by that date, and which require no significant follow-up or changes, will be guaranteed of receiving 2017 certifications if approved. Applications received after this date may receive 2018 certification.

Back to Top

Reduce Waste

Compost pumpkins in your organics recycling cart


Carved pumpkins and other gourds are great organic material, and are allowed in the green organics recycling cart. However, adding man-made materials, such as glitter, paint, or jewels to pumpkins makes them non-compostable. All painted or bejeweled pumpkins must be disposed of as garbage. 

Yard waste collection ends the week of November 13

During the week of Nov. 13, your regular garbage day is the last yard waste collection date in 2017 for leaves, brush and other yard trimmings. Yard waste must be in compostable bags – paper (Kraft) or compostable plastic – or unbagged in a reusable container at least 26 inches high with sturdy handles. Yard waste is not allowed in City-provided containers. Set all yard waste next to your garbage cart by 6 a.m.  More information.  

yard waste

Choose to Reuse

choose 2 reuse

Choose to Reuse coupons will help you get great deals on quality products while supporting local businesses and protecting the environment. Coupons are valid through October 31 at more than 50 local retailers that rent, repair, resell, consign and exchange used goods.

 For more information about getting Choose to Reuse coupons, visit or call 612-348-3777.

Organics recycling reaches 43% opt-in rate

Forty-three percent of Minneapolis residents have opted to recycle organics! This incredible accomplishment is the result of the City’s efforts to collect food scraps, coffee grounds, meat trimmings, paper towels and more. It's not too late to sign up! If you are a Minneapolis resident interested in recycling organics, sign up here.

Become a recycling block leader for your neighborhood

recycling block leader

Are you passionate about reducing waste? Sign up to be a recycling block leader and educate your neighbors about recycling and waste reduction. As a recycling block leader, you can give as little or as much of your time as you are able.

Learn more and sign up: 

Solid Waste Management Master Plan available for public review

Hennepin County’s 2018 Solid Waste Management Master Plan outlines strategies the county will pursue to reach the goal of recycling 75 percent of waste by 2030 and sending zero waste to landfills.

draft of the master plan and a survey to provide your feedback on your level of support for the proposed strategies are available through October 9.

The plan focuses on increasing organics recycling, building momentum for waste prevention and reuse, continuing to serve residents at home, work and on-the-go, expanding drop-off disposal and recycling options, diverting construction and demolition waste, and supporting the state’s environmental justice policy. Learn more about the master plan development process and next steps.


Back to Top

Protect Our Local Water Qualtiy

Green Tip: Keep leaves out of streets and storm drains to protect nearby lakes and streams

rake it up

As the wind starts to shake the red and yellow leaves out of the trees this fall, you may soon be starting to rake those leaves out of your yard or garden or sweep them off your patio or deck. While you’ve got your rake or broom in hand, take a moment to clean the leaves out of the public spaces around your home like your street and storm sewer.

Rake leaves to protect our water

Keeping leaves out of streets and storm drains prevents excess nutrients like phosphorous from getting into the local lakes and streams that the storm sewers empty into. Phosphorous in the water feeds algae blooms in the warmer months, negatively impacting aquatic life including fish and vegetation.

Instead of polluting water, leaves can be pick up and composted in your backyard or brought to a compost site.

Make it a neighborhood effort

You could make leaf cleanup a community event by getting your neighbors involved like the Como Active Citizen Network has done in St. Paul. In the neighborhood near Como Lake, an informal group of 100 neighbors serve as leaf ambassadors to their blocks, leading the way in keeping leaves out of streets and storm sewers, stenciling storm drains to inform neighbors that the water flowing into them drains directly to nearby lakes and rivers, and posting yard signs to encourage other to take action to keep water clean. Read their story on Clean Water Minnesota.

Adopt a drain

Another way to get involved is to join an Adopt-a-Drain program through your city if they offer it. Minneapolis residents can sign up here. Several other cities are starting programs, so check with your city to see what they offer.

Back to Top

Sustainable Food

Food Council Seeks members for 2018-2019 term

Are you looking for a way to impact local food policy and food systems? Are you a Minneapolis resident? The Homegrown Minneapolis Food Council is seeking members to be a part of this team that proposes and works on innovative solutions to improve the local food system.

The Homegrown Minneapolis Food Council is a City-community partnership and advisory group that works to support all Minneapolis residents and increase access to quality food, address hunger and food insecurity, connect sectors of the food system, influence policy and decision making, and ensure an environmentally sustainable and socially just food system. Fifteen community members will be appointed by the Mayor and City Council. Members serve two-year terms and participate in monthly meetings and work groups. Applications are due by October 20, 2017.More informationApply today!

To learn more, visit the Food Council webpage.

Back to Top

Job Opportunities & Grants

Minneapolis Sustainability Office is Hiring Two Program Aides

The City of Minneapolis Coordinator's Office of Sustainability is hiring TWO part-time temporary Sustainability Program Aides: one will focus on local food policy and Homegrown Minneapolis; the other will focus on climate change, energy, and other sustainability topics. Both Sustainability Program Aides will assist with planning, development and implementation of events, activities, policies, research, engagement and communications for the City of Minneapolis sustainability initiatives. The work is both independent and collaborative in nature. The paid positions will last for at least six but no more than 12 months.

Apply here.

Grants available for contaminated land cleanup

Grants are available for the assessment and cleanup of contaminated sites through the Environmental Response Fund. The grants are used for a variety of activities that provide community benefit, including assessment and cleanup of groundwater and contaminated soil, and evaluation and abatement of asbestos and lead-based paint. Priority is placed on locations that establish affordable and moderately priced housing, are intended as public or green spaces, and promote economic development. 

Applications for 2017 Environmental Response Fund grants are due November 1. Learn more and apply.

Good steward natural resources grants


Grants are available for projects that implement best management practices to preserve and restore critical habitats, reduce erosion and reduce the amount of nutrients and sediment going into lakes, rivers and streams. Past grants have supported practices such as rain gardens, prairie plantings, shoreline restorations and drainage improvements. Government agencies, organizations and private landowners are eligible to apply. Applications are due November 5. Learn more and apply.

Business recycling grants

Businesses, organizations and institutions looking to improve recycling, start organics recycling or reduce waste can apply now for grants. Funding can be used to purchase recycling containers, start hauling services, or improve onsite recycling infrastructure. The business recycling grants program supports a wide range of projects – from small grants to purchase waste containers to grants up to $50,000 for larger infrastructure changes. Applications for over $10,000 are due by October 15, while applications for $10,000 or less will be accepted through November. Learn more and apply.

Grants available from University of MN Healthy Foods, Healthy Lives Institute

The Healthy Foods, Healthy Lives (HFHL) Institute invites letters of interest and proposals for two fall funding opportunities:

Submission deadline is November 10, 2017.

Learn more and download RFPs here.

Back to Top


Registration open for Food Access Summit

The sixth annual conference will be held October 25 – 27, 2017 at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center.

Duluth Entertainment Convention Center | 350 Harbor Dr., Duluth, MN 55802 (map)

Register at
Discounted rates are available at several Duluth hotels.

For questions, contact Kris Igo at or 612-625-8693

NE Climate Change and Public Health Workshop

Calling all NE Minneapolis residents: Interested in attending a climate change and public health workshop on October 10 at the Water Bar and Public Studio? Contact for more details.

Back to Top