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Even though we’ve had these trash, recycling, and organics bins for a while, it’s still confusing, right? Here are some tips and tricks the Environmental Stewardship crew has learned that we’ve found useful in helping make decisions when we’re tossing waste:
1. Does it say the word “compostable” anywhere on it? It’s compostable! Hooray! Look on the bottom of cups and silverware. Plates will not say “compostable,” but as long as it doesn’t feel waxy, it’s compostable. [All catering supplies from A’Viands are compostable!] “Biodegradable” is NOT “Compostable.”
2. Was it recently a living thing? It’s probably compostable.
3. Is it filmy or flashy? Does it have two different textures on different sides? It’s probably trash. Things coated in plastic (shiny) cannot be separated into their individual materials to be recycled.
4. If in doubt – TRASH IT! Contaminated dumpsters actually cost us extra money and cause problems at the sorting facilities.
If you’re still confused – don’t worry. Most of us are! Consumer products change often and are not always designed with an easy end-of-life in mind. Reducing consumption can sometimes be easier than learning how to sort waste, but when we do have waste to sort, let’s help each other out! And reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for support.
NOTE: The City of Minneapolis has detailed guides on what can go in each bin. If you’re googling to find out what to do with something, make sure you’re looking specifically at what Minneapolis or Hennepin County tells you to do with it. Not all municipalities have the same capacity to recycle.