Hennepin County studies waste habits to turn more trash into treasure

Read the full story in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Hennepin County is digging through your trash.

A handful of men and women in hard hats and jumpsuits are sorting almost two tons of garbage in a downtown Minneapolis warehouse. The stink wafts from the Hennepin Energy Recovery Center’s tipping floor and is nauseating behind closed doors, but they’ve gotten used to it.

The sort is part of a weeklong study to figure out what people are throwing away. Or more importantly, how we can throw away less and recycle more.

NYC Businesses Agree to Aggressive Waste Reduction Goals

Read the full story from Waste360.

About 30 New York City businesses, including big players and facilities such as Whole Foods Market, ABC, Barclays Center and Citi Field have agreed to cut the trash they send to landfills by half by June.

Treasure in the Trash: A Look Inside 30 Years of NYC Garbage

Read the full story and view the pictures at Waste360.

Located on the second floor of a garbage truck depot in the East Harlem neighborhood of New York City is Treasure in the Trash, a local gem created by retired NYC sanitation worker Nelson Molina. Treasure in the Trash is a gallery of NYC garbage collectibles, which includes typewriters, photographs, furniture, household items, action figures, stained glass from a church built in 1895, a Star of David made from steel from the World Trade Center and more.

San Jose Cleans Up Decades-Old Trash, E-Waste From Dry Creeks

Read the full story at KCBS.

There’s at least one silver lining to California’s four-year drought. In San Jose, volunteers have been able to clean out decades old garbage stuck at the bottom of dry creek beds.

New York City Fights Scavengers Over a Treasure: Trash

Read the full story in the New York Times.

The video begins with ominous notes from a piano and an image of crime scene tape. The camera pans to men hunched over garbage pails, sifting for bottles, and a stoop-shouldered woman towing a shopping cart full of cans. Some might feel sympathy for these collectors, but the video makes clear that the New York City Sanitation Department, which made the video and posted it online, wanted them to be seen as something else: common criminals.

 

Garbage ‘patch’ is much worse than believed, entrepreneur says

Read the full story at SFGate.

It is known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch — a mass of plastic floating debris estimated to be twice the size of Texas and concentrated between California and Hawaii.

But to Boyan Slat, the 21-year-old Dutch entrepreneur who is orchestrating what he envisions as the largest ocean cleanup effort in history, “patch” is far too gentle a term. He prefers “ticking time bomb.”

Residents Sue Seattle, Saying New Trash Rules Violate Privacy

Read the full story in the New York Times.

Environmental goals about garbage in this and other like-minded cities increasingly come down to three words: Throw less away. So Seattle residents are given different bins to put out on the curb — one for yard and food waste, another for recycling — and are encouraged to use ever-tinier cans for the stuff that really is trash.

The rules were given teeth this year, when Seattle became one of the first cities in the nation to penalize residents for sorting poorly. If, on inspection, more than 10 percent of a garbage can’s contents should have properly been in another kind of bin, the trash collector can pin a bright red tag on the offender’s receptacle. Financial penalties have been authorized but not yet levied. A primary goal of the policy is to keep people from throwing food and recyclable materials into trash cans.

This week, a group of Seattle residents — while stressing that they agreed with the city’s goals — said the inspections violated their privacy, as protected by the Washington State Constitution. What people toss away, the group argued in a lawsuit filed on Thursday, is still theirs to protect, however much, especially in these warm days of summer and rot, they might want to get rid of it all as soon as possible.