WAYZATA — While people have been composting for a while — dumping organic waste into compost piles or backyard bins — the emergence of trash companies hauling away organic waste is fairly new. Randy’s Environmental Services is among the trash haulers that serves Hennepin County, offering garbage, yard waste, recycling and organics recycling in some cities. Debora Gatz, company operations administrator for Randy’s, told Lakeshore Weekly News Randy’s switched to the Blue Bag Organics recycling in 2012 after starting to offer organics recycling in 2002 with a separate container. Randy’s switched to using the Blue Bag system because it made the most sense for them as a company, the city and the consumer, Gatz said. “The resident doesn’t have to have another cart taking up space and it’s ideal for us,” Gatz said. Gatz said cities also don’t want to have another large truck on city streets, which is required when the organics recycling has its own bin. Randy’s provides organics recycling to several Lake Minnetonka-area cities, including Greenwood, Long Lake, Medina, Minnetrista, Minnetonka, Mound, Orono, Plymouth, Shorewood, Wayzata and Woodland, according to the company’s website. The cities of Medina and Wayzata provide organics recycling for no extra cost but residents must sign up for the service, and the city of Minnetonka provided one year of free organics recycling in 2019 to the first 115 people who signed up.

How it works

Residents who use Blue Bag Organics recycling separate out their organic trash and put it into an Organix Solutions Blue Bag, which is fully compostable. These bags can be purchased from trash haulers or are provided by some cities. Then, residents toss the Blue Bag in their trash can alongside all the other trash. The trash is collected and brought to the facility where it is put on a separation line. A robot recognizes the Blue Bag and separates it from the non-organic trash. For Randy’s customers, the Blue Bag then goes to Specialized Environmental Technologies Inc., where it is made into mulch. The mulch is sold by The Mulch Store (mulch is available for sale at mulchstoremn.com). And each spring, Randy’s sends a coupon to those who bought a Blue Bag from them to get one free bag of mulch at The Mulch Store, Gatz said. Randy’s is not the only trash hauler in the area to provide this type of organics recycling. Ark’s Disposal offers bag disposal organics recycling, according to its website. It serves Plymouth, Minnetonka and Maple Grove.

New requirements in Hennepin County

On Jan. 1, 2020, businesses in Hennepin County will have to reevaluate their food waste recycling based on the revision of a Hennepin County recycling ordinance, according to the county’s website. Passed in November 2018, the revision says businesses that generate large quantities of food waste such as restaurants, hotels, grocers, residential care facilities and office buildings with dining services will have to implement food waste recycling by Jan. 1, 2020. In the same revision of the county’s recycling ordinance, Hennepin County will require cities to offer curbside organics recycling service to residents by Jan. 1, 2022. Cities with populations of 10,000 or less can choose not to make curbside recycling service available to residents but must provide at least one recycling drop-off site by Jan. 1, 2022. Hennepin County’s website on organics recycling is https://tinyurl.com/y8bg4pte.

WAYZATA — While people have been composting for a while — dumping organic waste into compost piles or backyard bins — the emergence of trash companies hauling away organic waste is fairly new.

Randy’s Environmental Services is among the trash haulers that serves Hennepin County, offering garbage, yard waste, recycling and organics recycling in some cities.

Debora Gatz, company operations administrator for Randy’s, told Lakeshore Weekly News Randy’s switched to the Blue Bag Organics recycling in 2012 after starting to offer organics recycling in 2002 with a separate container. Randy’s switched to using the Blue Bag system because it made the most sense for them as a company, the city and the consumer, Gatz said.

“The resident doesn’t have to have another cart taking up space and it’s ideal for us,” Gatz said.

Gatz said cities also don’t want to have another large truck on city streets, which is required when the organics recycling has its own bin.

Randy’s provides organics recycling to several Lake Minnetonka-area cities, including Greenwood, Long Lake, Medina, Minnetrista, Minnetonka, Mound, Orono, Plymouth, Shorewood, Wayzata and Woodland, according to the company’s website. The cities of Medina and Wayzata provide organics recycling for no extra cost but residents must sign up for the service, and the city of Minnetonka provided one year of free organics recycling in 2019 to the first 115 people who signed up.

How it works

Residents who use Blue Bag Organics recycling separate out their organic trash and put it into an Organix Solutions Blue Bag, which is fully compostable. These bags can be purchased from trash haulers or are provided by some cities.

Then, residents toss the Blue Bag in their trash can alongside all the other trash. The trash is collected and brought to the facility where it is put on a separation line. A robot recognizes the Blue Bag and separates it from the non-organic trash.

For Randy’s customers, the Blue Bag then goes to Specialized Environmental Technologies Inc., where it is made into mulch. The mulch is sold by The Mulch Store (mulch is available for sale at mulchstoremn.com). And each spring, Randy’s sends a coupon to those who bought a Blue Bag from them to get one free bag of mulch at The Mulch Store, Gatz said.

Randy’s is not the only trash hauler in the area to provide this type of organics recycling. Ark’s Disposal offers bag disposal organics recycling, according to its website. It serves Plymouth, Minnetonka and Maple Grove.

New requirements in Hennepin County

On Jan. 1, 2020, businesses in Hennepin County will have to reevaluate their food waste recycling based on the revision of a Hennepin County recycling ordinance, according to the county’s website.

Passed in November 2018, the revision says businesses that generate large quantities of food waste such as restaurants, hotels, grocers, residential care facilities and office buildings with dining services will have to implement food waste recycling by Jan. 1, 2020.

In the same revision of the county’s recycling ordinance, Hennepin County will require cities to offer curbside organics recycling service to residents by Jan. 1, 2022. Cities with populations of 10,000 or less can choose not to make curbside recycling service available to residents but must provide at least one recycling drop-off site by Jan. 1, 2022.

Hennepin County’s website on organics recycling is https://tinyurl.com/y8bg4pte.

Frances Stevenson is a reporter for the Lakeshore Weekly News, covering the communities around Lake Minnetonka.

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