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Mankato Area Zero Waste reaches 1 year milestone

Mankato Area Zero Waste would’ve normally spent last year promoting and educating the southern Minnesota community about organic recycling.
Published: Apr. 14, 2022 at 7:32 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 14, 2022 at 7:36 PM CDT
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - Mankato Area Zero Waste would’ve normally spent last year promoting and educating the southern Minnesota community about organic recycling.

But with the COVID-19 pandemic, the founders needed to come up with a new plan.

“The threat that plastic is causing to our environment,” Mankato Area Zero Waste co-founder Jane Dow.

“It is essential that we get a grip on plastics. It is a growing problem, not only in amount but the damage to humans and the environment,” Mankato Area Zero Waste co-founder Betty Winkworth said.

Grocery stores have plastic bag recycling bins at the entrance of their business, which then they sell to TREX, which recycles the bags and turns them into benches, railings and decks.

Mankato Area Zero Waste decided to take that idea a step further. They currently work with businesses and institutions that deal with pallet wrap and other soft plastics on a regular basis, but might lack the recycling options.

“It gave us a chance to do something when we couldn’t get out and actually meet with people to sell organic recycling,” stated Winkworth.

TREX supplied collection bins for each of the new locations.

Mankato Area Zero Waste then provides bag collection and any needed support, such as picking up the filled bags.

“It is unbelievable the amount that we send out every week that is not going into the landfills now,” explained Suzanne Lewis, volunteer at ECHO Food Shelf.

After just one year, the total figure for collections in Lake Crystal, North Mankato and Mankato is around 7,452 pounds, or 3.75 tons, that were removed from the waste stream that would have otherwise been incinerated or wound up in landfills.

If you’re a business or community group that wants to start a plastics recycling program for TREX, then visit Mankato Area Zero Waste’s website.

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