A good waste management and recycling system is an asset to your business. A well-designed system will streamline operations, support staff to recycle easily, identify areas of unnecessary waste and save money. In Ramsey and Washington counties, 90% of businesses are recycling basic materials. However, all 1,800 businesses we’ve helped still identified ways to improve, like recycling a new material or switching to reusable foodware from disposables. Sometimes small adjustments can lead to big changes, big waste reduction and big savings.
What goes in your trash bin is taxed by both county and state. There is no tax on recycling or organics.
Recycling benefits the local economy.
Recyclable material has tremendous economic value. The 2.3 million tons Minnesotans recycled last year was worth more than $690 million to our state’s economy. We lose money when we don’t recycle. About 1.2 million tons of recyclable material is thrown away each year. That material, if recycled, would be worth about $285 million to the state’s economy; instead, it costs more than $200 million to send the material to landfills.
Recycling also helps support local markets. Approximately 37,000 jobs in Minnesota are directly and indirectly supported by the recycling industry. These jobs pay an estimated $1.96 billion in wages and add nearly $8.5 billion to Minnesota’s economy.
Recycled materials can be manufactured into a variety of products.
Recycled items can be made into many new products, from recycled-content paper to building supplies that are used by many Minnesota companies.
Recycling protects our environment.
Recycling and buying recycled products helps keep Minnesota’s lakes and rivers clean. Manufacturing products from recycled materials generates significantly less water pollution than manufacturing from virgin materials. Manufacturing recycled white office paper creates 74% less air pollutants and 35% less water pollutants than making it from virgin wood pulp.
Recycling also reduces energy use. For example, recycling an aluminum can requires 95% less energy and water, compared to producing a can from virgin materials.
Besides generating less pollution and reducing energy use, making products out of recycled materials conserves natural resources. Take paper recycling for instance. Each mature tree we don’t cut down can filter up to 60 pounds of pollutants and carbon dioxide out of the air each year. Recycling one ton of cardboard saves 46 gallons of oil. That’s great for the environment!
Recycling saves energy.
Manufacturing products from recycled materials uses far less energy than manufacturing the same product from virgin (new) materials. It takes 90% less energy to manufacture an aluminum can from recycled aluminum, about 50% less energy to manufacture a glass bottle from recycled glass, and about 75% less energy to manufacture paper from recycled paper. Recycling decreases our demand for fossil fuels and increases our energy independence.
It’s the Law
The Minnesota commercial recycling law requires most businesses who collect four or more cubic yards of waste to recycle at least three types of materials.
Click the icons below to learn how recycling can benefit apartment buildings, schools, and businesses that generate food and organic waste.