In the next decade, Minneapolis wants its residents and businesses to recycle or compost 80% of its waste. That means getting people to send more food scraps, paper towels and other compostable waste into the organics bin, not the regular trash, according to the city.

Presenting to the City Council's public works committee Tuesday, staff members leading the city's trash and recycling efforts laid out their plans for the next three years to reach the city's waste-reduction goal. That will include going through some garbage to see whether people are sorting it right.

Organic materials make up about 40% of the waste generated by the average Minnesotan, said Kellie Kish, the city's recycling coordinator. Minneapolis already offers curbside organics recycling, though few apartment buildings and businesses are signed up to use it.

Next year, the public works department will study whether it should add more organics drop-off sites across the city, Kish said. The department is also considering whether new apartment buildings should be required to have organics recycling options and if other buildings should add them upon requests from residents.

Kish said city staff also would like to create a voucher program to allow people who recycle organics to obtain finished compost for their gardens.

Council President Lisa Bender said residents in her ward are dropping off their composting materials at a site run by the Wedge Community Co-Op on Lyndale Avenue.

"I hear a lot from constituents who are living in multifamily buildings about their desire to participate in waste diversion, especially organics composting," Bender said. "I think there would be high interest in the community for this opportunity."

Overall, the city is looking to better educate residents on how to reduce waste, including by promoting Hennepin County's own waste-reduction programs and advertising.

"It's some gradual work. Behavior change is not easy," Kish said.

The city will be collecting data over the next three years in order to look at how to improve the city's waste disposal. Officials will study how residents sort their garbage, going through trash, recycling and organics carts in a sample of households to see whether items end up in the right place.

Miguel Otárola • 612-673-4753