Conservation Minnesota

Spring 2013: Recycling Refund

Reycling-RefundRecycling is a more than $8 billion industry in Minnesota with more than 200 companies and 37,000 related jobs.  As impressive as that may sound, the fact is we are still recycling less than half of what is possible. The Recycling Refund is a proven strategy that can help.

Other mid-western states with Recycling Refunds, like Iowa and Michigan recycle more than 85% of their beverage containers.  In Minnesota, we recycle just 35%.  That is costing us both money and jobs.

The Recycling Refund is simple and convenient.  It works so well because each bottle or can is worth 10 cents.  Return it the next time you go to the grocery store, and you get ten cents back.  Donate it to a local school or non-profit, and they raise money by recycling.  Or, leave it in your curbside recycling, and the 10 cents helps support local city and county recycling programs.  It’s your choice!

However you decide to participate, recyclables are kept out of landfills and can be put to use by companies who are anxious to get their hands on more glass, aluminum and plastic.

If you think the Recycling Refund is a good idea, let your legislators know and ask them to support this win-win proposition.

Read the rest of the Spring 2013 Newsletter articles.

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Webmaster says:

We are happy that your representative realizes that Minnesota is truly deficient when it comes to the amount of cans and bottles we recycle. If a Recycling Refund program were to be implemented, nothing would change for those who have curbside recycling available to them. The big problem that contributes to our 35% recycling rate of beverage containers is that so many of them are consumed on-the-go. A Recycling Refund program would provide a solution to that problem, because convenience and groceries stores as well as redemption centers would be take and recycle the empty containers. Currently there just aren’t enough opportunities for Minnesotans to recycle these containers while they travel to work, school, events, others cities etc.

The state legislature is currently considering a measure that would require the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) to conduct a study with industry stake holders (municipalities most likely will also be included) on how a Recycling Refund program would work best for Minnesota. We would hope that your representative would support this initiative so that Minnesota can move forward on addressing our severely lagging beverage container recycling rates.

Thank you for your question.

Amanda says:

I wrote to my House Representative and her response was this:

“I agree that increasing participation in recycling programs is important. While proponents claim that switching to a refunded bottling system increases participation, there are numerous issues with such a system. One is the issue of convenience – setting all of your recyclables out on your curb each week is easier than taking them to a store or distribution center to collect your refund. Furthermore, if consumers shifted their bottles and cans away from curbside recycling, the municipalities running curbside programs would lose revenue”

Based on your article, her response seems to be contrary to what is true regarding curbside recycling options. Can you please provide further detail as to how this works and whether or not her point is valid?