Tag Archives: environment

Raccoons vs. recycling: Twin Cities composting gets easier

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Photo by Luke Hollins, published under Creative Commons license.

I’m a klutz at composting. Every time I’ve tried, the stuff just sits there. So I am happy to see that the Twin Cities are making composting easier, with curbside pick-up for organics in Minneapolis and easy organics drop-off sites in St. Paul. Big news: St. Paul now has 24/7 drop-off sites, so you can get rid of the accumulated food waste before the raccoons raid your collection bin. Continue reading

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What’s wrong with TPP — what you can do NOW to stop it

 

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Photo by Wendy Colucci of the CNY Area Labor Federation, AFL-CIO, republished under Creative Commons license.

The United States signed the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement in February, but there’s still time to stop the deal that some are calling “NAFTA on steroids” before it becomes law. Signing is only one step: the next step is passage by Congress. In this election year, you can contact your U.S. Senators and Representatives to say a resounding NO to TPP. Here are four reasons to stop TPP, and links to contact information for Congress. Continue reading

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Amy Klobuchar moves to the DARK side on GMO labeling

Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar joined Republicans on the Senate Agriculture Committee last week to vote for the DARK Act — the Deny Americans the Right to Know Act. That’s the bill that would forbid state and local governments from requiring labeling foods containing GMOs. The bill, which still has to pass the full Senate, was described in a March 2 Star Tribune news article:

“The vote gave the food industry, including Minnesota-based companies such as Cargill, General Mills and Land O’Lakes, everything it wanted to derail state GMO labeling laws, especially a law set to take effect in Vermont in July.”

The bill adds insult to injury, by requiring “a taxpayer-funded public education campaign that explains scientific evidence of the benefits of ‘agricultural biotechnology.’” Continue reading

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Recycling ride-along in St. Paul

Screen Shot 2016-02-14 at 6.45.12 PMLike Twins players, Eureka drivers star on trading cards. The back of Kirk Frauenhelm’s card reveals that he’s an avid gardener, has been driving for Eureka since 2010 and has picked up almost 10 million pounds of recycling. That’s an old card, so he’s well over the 10-million-pound mark now. Luckner Clerveus started just last year, and boasts only a little more than a million pounds picked up. Continue reading

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Eureka Recycling: Pro-employee, pro-environment, local and responsible

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Sorters at Eureka’s MRF – photo courtesy of Eureka

The Minneapolis Public Works Department has recommended a five-year contract with Eureka Recycling to process all of the city’s recycling. Next, it’s St. Paul’s turn to decide between the local non-profit and the biggest private companies in North America for pick-up and processing. Choosing Eureka makes sense from both economic and environmental perspectives. Continue reading

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Growing lettuce at ten below zero

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Lettuce growing at St. John’s University, January 16, 2016

Local lettuce all winter? At St. John’s University and the College of St. Benedict, passive solar greenhouses grow lettuce for college food service, with farming and management by enthusiastic student volunteers. With a few dozen other folks, I visited both greenhouses on a subzero January Saturday, on the first of the Deep Winter Greenhouse Tours sponsored by the Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota. Continue reading

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Bees win some, lose some in Minneapolis

IMG_0287A resolution supporting bees buzzed through the Minneapolis City Council last week, with the city’s press release touting it as “significant action in the fight to protect the sharply declining local bee population.” Recognizing the problem and pledging to plant more pollinator forage are good steps, but the month’s news reveals the complexity of getting city government to move in a single direction. The city council’s bee-friendly resolution did not (and cannot) actually ban any specific pesticides, and doesn’t affect the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, or other government bodies, such as the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District. Continue reading

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Green scum on sky-blue waters

Crow RiverHave you ever seen a bear cry? If the Hamm’s bear could see what’s happening to the sky blue waters he used to sing about, he’d be crying today. From green scum and fish kills in Albert Lea to mining pollution in northern Minnesota and the early closure of the walleye season on Mille Lacs, our water ain’t what it used to be. Continue reading

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Spill, spill, and spill again: Oil across the continent

Photo by Steven Storm from protest in Santa Barbara after May oil spill, published under Creative Commons license

Photo by Steven Storm from protest in Santa Barbara after May oil spill, published under Creative Commons license

A new, state-of-the-art double-layer pipeline failed last week in Alberta, causing a massive leak of 1.3 million gallons of oil, water and sand. But that’s not all: July has been a banner month for oil spills, and it’s not over yet. The entire year has seen spill after spill, from pipelines and oil train derailments. Here’s a brief recap of just those spills that made it into my files — and the Wisconsin legislature’s capitulation to Enbridge. Continue reading

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Trash talking in the Twin Cities

Eureka Recycling graphic for St. Paul recycling

Eureka Recycling graphic for St. Paul recycling

People have lots of questions about recycling. Should you wash out beer bottles and jelly jars? Paper is good — but what about shredded paper? And what about light bulbs? Or window glass? What kind of plastic can you put in the blue box? And then there’s the big question: is recycling really worth it?

The Washington Post recently reported that recycling isn’t profitable any more. Whether recycling turns a profit is the wrong question. As a recent Mother Jones article points out, recycling succeeds financially if it just costs less than burying stuff in landfills. But financial success isn’t even half the story. Recycling succeeds by keeping trash out of landfills. Continue reading

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