Every day, Minnesota students consume thousands of cans and bottles of soda, water and energy drinks. And while many schools are doing a good job at promoting recycling of the empty containers, Conservation Minnesota proved once again this year that they can do an even better job if given a little incentive.
This spring, we offered the students at South View Middle School in Edina and the Northeast Range High School in Babbitt ten cents for each of the first 10,000 cans and bottles they could collect and recycle. Both schools jumped at the opportunity, and within days achieved their goals, and a $1,000 check from us.
We challenged these students to collect beverage containers to draw attention to the fact that currently only 35 percent of cans and bottles in Minnesota are being recycled. But in nearby states like Iowa and Michigan where recycling refunds are in place, the rates are over 85 percent.
This past session the Minnesota Legislature passed, and the Governor signed into law, legislation that directs the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to present recommendations to the 2014 Legislature for how a recycling refund could help the state reach its goal of a 80 percent recycling rate.
We are pleased the legislature decided to move forward on addressing the issue of our low beverage container recycling rates. We look forward to the day that all Minnesotans who consume these types of beverages are given a similar incentive to recycle their empty containers, or can easily donate them to drives and allow schools to raise money.