What They Meant to Say About Food Scraps
Upon further review, Ramsey County has changed its mind on what is acceptable at food scraps recycling sites, including at the District 10 community site on Beulah Lane in Como Park. After briefly banning pizza boxes, paper egg cartons, and “food-stained” paper bags, the county now says those items are again OK. So are certified compostable products (such as plates, bowls, cups, and utensils), as long as they have a “Compostable” logo from the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) or Compost Manufacturing Alliance.
The reversal came after the Como Community Council and City of Saint Paul questioned the new policy, which would have limited organics recycling only to food scraps and undone years of progress in getting residents to reduce what they put in the waste stream.
“We’ve heard your concerns and want to apologize for the frustration and confusion our messaging caused,” Mary Elizabeth Berglund, a county Environmental Health supervisor, said in an email. “In an effort to be clearer about food scrap recycling, the messages and how they were presented did the opposite.”
See the county’s Food Scraps website for a complete list of what is and is not allowed; scroll down to the “items accepted” link.
Food scraps are still the priority
The county will continue to emphasize “food scraps” in its messaging, Berglund says, because:
- It is easier and simpler to explain
- Food composts more quickly than mixed organics
- Food scraps produce higher-quality compost than mixed organics; that is important in supporting the economic viability of commercial-scale composting
- The “food scraps” focus prepares for the county’s scheduled 2022 launch of residential pick-up, in which food scraps will be co-collected with trash in durable, compostable bags.