A report recently released by Hennepin County found the most prevalent item in Minneapolis residential trash is food waste.

County workers dug through almost two tons of trash from three Minneapolis neighborhoods last May and sorted it into 50 categories as part of a weeklong study to figure out what people are throwing away and how residents can recycle more.

According to the report forwarded to the County Board this month, food waste was the most common kind of item found. Seven of the top 10 items found in the trash were things that could only go in the trash.

“For the most part, people are doing a good job ... 41 percent of what’s in the trash is still trash,” Ben Knudson, a Hennepin Energy Recovery Center recycling specialist, told the board.

What the study found in terms of trash content:

• 40.8 percent of trash couldn’t be recycled or put in organics recycling;

• 24.9 percent consisted of organics, or food waste;

• 13.8 percent could be recycled;

• 8.9 percent was construction or demolition materials;

• 4.2 percent was yard waste;

• 7.4 percent consisted of other items, such as textiles and recyclable plastic bags.

Ramsey and Washington counties completed a similar study in 2014, which also found that trash was largely made up of food waste. Knudson said residents should do more organics and paper recycling, and donate clothes and drop off electronics rather than throwing them away. State officials want the metro area to recycle 75 percent of its waste by 2030.


St. Louis Park

City named Bicycle Friendly Community

The League of American Bicyclists last week recognized St. Louis Park as a Bicycle Friendly Community, the latest addition to its list of safe and accessible areas for two-wheelers.

The city, one of 26 added to the program, received the bronze level designation. It will remain on the list for four years.

St. Louis Park launched its “Connect the Park” plan in 2013 to develop a large, comprehensive system of trails, sidewalks and bikeways open to bicyclists.

Since then, the city has built more than 6 miles of bikeways, 5 miles of sidewalk and more than 1.5 miles of trail, said Deb Heiser, the city’s engineering director.

St. Louis Park was part of the largest application pool in the history of the program, with 140 communities applying for the designation. Bemidji and Greater Mankato renewed their designations.

Miguel Otárola


Meetings scheduled on library development

Hennepin County and Edina are holding two public meetings next month to get community input on the Southdale Library site redevelopment.

After gathering feedback, city officials will put together proposals and send them to the County Board for a decision next summer.

In the next three to five years, the county library branch will be rebuilt on the 8-acre site, but Edina says there is room for development of surface parking lots for housing, offices or retail.

Renovating the existing library is too costly because of its age, but the new library will probably have the same public space — about 70,000 square feet — and sit on the same site, though those decisions haven’t been finalized, county leaders said.

The library used to house a Hennepin County Service Center, but that was moved to Southdale Center in May. The district court facilities in the library building are scheduled to move to Bloomington by 2019.

The meetings will be held at the Southdale Library from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 5 and from 6 to 8 p.m. Dec. 13 at 7001 York Av. S. For more details, go to EdinaMN.gov/SouthdaleLibrarySite.



Board mulls wheelage tax increase for 2017

With state funding uncertain and a host of transportation needs foreseen for the next 15 to 20 years, Carver County officials are considering a wheelage tax increase beginning in 2017.

The current wheelage tax, which is tacked onto annual vehicle registration fees to pay for road maintenance projects, is $10. The County Board is discussing an increase of up to $10, which would make it $20.

Many of the county’s roads said to be in critical need of updating — including Highways 5, 212 and 41 — are high-traffic state roads, County Administrator Dave Hemze said.

“The county is stepping up to take care of what’s traditionally been a state responsibility,” he said.

No decisions have been made about the wheelage tax. The board directed staffers to come up with a process of collecting input from residents and businesses before the tax is discussed again in January.