16 Zero-Waste New Year’s Resolution Ideas for 2016

  1. Sign up for organics recycling by emailing SWRcustomer@minneapolismn.gov or by calling 612-673-2917. Sign up by February 1 to make sure you get your cart in Spring 2016! (There’s no need to sign up again if you’ve already signed up). Continue to compost your fruit and veggie peels in your backyard, and use the City’s organics recycling program to compost materials that can’t go in your backyard bin!
  2. Sign up for Minneapolis Recycling Reminders! An email is sent to you the day before your recycling day to remind you to set your recycling cart out. Emails also include holiday reminders, seasonal service updates, fun facts and more!
  3. Reduce wasted food by:
    • Planning meals for the week before going shopping
    • Creating a grocery list to make those meals
    • Make new meals with your leftovers
    • Learn to store food to maximize its freshness for longer (visit Eureka Recycling’s Prevent Wasted Food webpages for more information)
  4. Eliminate disposable single-use food-service items like zip-lock bags and cling wrap. Instead use reusable glass or plastic food storage containers and bee’s wrap.
  5. Give Grasscycling a try!  Grasscycling is the act of letting grass clippings fall where they’re cut and allowing them to decompose naturally. By grasscycling all year, you avoid the need to purchase bags for yard waste and provide the equivalent nutriments of one chemical fertilizer application!
  6. Bring your own bag to the store. The Natural Resources Defense Council states that the average American family takes home 1,500 plastic bags a year. Make your new year’s goal to always bring your own bag.
  7. Bring your own water bottle or coffee mug.  Not only do you reduce waste, but you may also get a discount for using your own container!
  8. Buy less new items – shop at reuse, thrift and consignment stores. Hennepin’s Choose to Reuse Guide for local reuse outlets.
  9. Donate unwanted items. By posting items on websites like Next Door, the Twin Cities Free Market, and Craigslist, items may be kept in use within your community. If uninterested or unable to post online, donate to a local second-hand store.
  10. Reduce packaging waste by placing individual produce items in your shopping cart – without the bag. If you like to use produce bags consider buying reusable produce bags or make your own!
  11. Bring your own to-go containers to restaurants. Did you know that the Minnesota Department of Health is ok with people bringing their own to-go containers to restaurants?
  12. Recycle Everywhere! Don’t forget to collect items from your bathroom, laundry room, and home office!  Visit Hennepin County’s Recycle Everywhere webpage to request free stickers and bags for recycling throughout your home!
  13. Opt to repair electronics, appliances, shoes and clothes instead of buying new.  Visit a “Fix It Clinic” and see what you’ve been missing out on!
  14. Wrap gifts for family and friends in reusable cloth or recyclable wrapping paper or consider giving gifts that need no wrapping like making or paying for dinner or a show.
  15. Tape your recycling to your fridge or inside a cabinet door. Refer to the guide when you aren’t certain an item can be recycled. “Wish-cycling” or the act of placing materials in the recycling cart that you wish were recyclable but really are not causes many issues at the recycling facility. Common wish-cycling items include: plastic bags, garden hoses and drinking glasses.
  16. Recycle your Holiday lights! Working and non-working holiday lights may be recycled each year from November 15 – the end of January at participating drop-off locations. Visit www.RecycleYourHolidays.org for more information. There are several locations that accept holiday lights year round. Hennepin County’s HHW and Recycling Drop-off Facilities are two of them.