EARTH DAY: Bill ups funding for recycling, composting initiative

EARTH DAY: Bill ups funding for recycling, composting initiatives

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Photo by Tim Blotz Photo by Tim Blotz
ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) - Democratic lawmakers in the Minnesota House are using Earth Day to rally support to increase funding for a statewide recycling and composting initiatives.

The House supplemental budget bill adds $7 million from the General Fund to the SCORE grant program to promote recycling. The Senate supplemental budget shifts only $700,000 to the grant program. Negotiators between the chambers will start working on a compromise supplemental budget this week.

Advocates of the recycling expansion program say Minnesotans put 1.7 million tons of waste into landfills last year, and that's simply too much.

Tim Brownell, of Eureka Recycling, threw his support behind the increased SCORE funding saying, “Waste is preventable, not inevitable.”

Brownell said the legislation is important because it sets the state’s first goals toward recycling organic materials. Brownell told Fox 9 News that 1 million tons of organics are thrown away into Minnesota’s waste stream each year.

It’s also big business. Paul Gardner, of Recycling Reinvented, said recycling supports 15,000 manufacturing jobs in Minnesota and has a $8.5 billion dollar economic impact.

The SCORE grant program was started nearly 25 years ago during the Perpich administration. The program taxes garbage collection to establish recycling programs; however, Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin, who was in the legislature when the program was started, said the money is deposited into the General Fund and not all of it goes back into recycling. To date, SCORE grants have provided approximately $14 million a year for recycling programs even though it now collects more than $70 million in assessments.

At a Capitol news conference, Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges argued that increase SCORE grants would help the city achieve the goal of recycling and composting 75 percent of the city’s solid waste.


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