By January 1, 2016, owners of commercial property in the seven-county metro area will need to make sure their buildings have recycling services along with garbage collection. The new law (Minn. Stat. 115A.151) applies to most commercial buildings that have service for 4 cubic yards (or more) of trash per week, and requires that a minimum of three material types be collected for recycling.
Even if the law does not apply to a particular commercial property, it is an opportunity for all businesses to increase their recycling. Unlike many other aspects of running a business where spending is examined regularly, businesses frequently set up their disposal services and then rarely think about it again. However, with a 17 percent state tax on garbage, and sometimes an even higher fee assessed by the local county, trashing recyclables can be expensive. Minnesotans spend a good deal of money throwing away recyclable material every year, but they have great potential value to the economy – recycling directly and indirectly supports nearly 37,000 jobs, and the materials have a value of over $250 million. In addition, many businesses are finding it is good for business to recycle, as customers are more interested in knowing that the companies they support are committed to sustainable practices in their operations.
Implementing a successful recycling program can take some work, but many cities and counties offer assistance to business owners, sometimes in the form of financial support to set up new or improved collection systems. There are also several local resources for signage and training, including the Recycling Association of Minnesota and Rethink Recycling. All of these resources, and more, can be found on the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s Commercial Recycling page www.pca.state.mn.us/dyw6yry. Questions can also be directed to Emily Barker, firstname.lastname@example.org or (651) 757-2030.