Hennepin County Environmental Services

Recent Articles

Backyard composting — an easy way to turn food waste into a natural resource

We hear about composting a lot but often it seems like a complex task only for experienced gardeners. What really is composting and how can it be more accessible? Michael Chaney, founder of Project Sweetie Pie, can often be found on the organization’s urban farms throughout North Minneapolis among the youth engaging in community agriculture. Chaney, who understands the role of composting within urban farming, says Project Sweetie Pie is exploring and learning more about increasing composting within their urban farms. Composting can close the gardening loop by creating usable, nutrient-rich soil to grow food. Once you get started, composting is easy, economical and great for the environment! Continue Reading →

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Please don’t pollute: drains to Mississippi River

The Mississippi River flows quietly through our hometown and most of us would never intentionally pollute it. But all it takes is one big rain, and the stuff on the streets — pop bottles, dirt, oil — spills down the storm drains and right into the river. Renisha Gray, youth manager for Emerge, says that protecting storm drains from litter is important. A nonprofit dedicated to creating workforce and housing programs, Emerge partnered with Hennepin County for a recent beautification project — employing youth street crews to stencil messages on storm drains throughout North Minneapolis. The stencil message — “Please Don’t Pollute: Drains to Mississippi River” — is a reminder that storm water run-off doesn’t go to a waste water facility to be filtered and cleaned. Continue Reading →

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Earth Day is April 22: Time to walk the environmental talk


Earth Day celebrates the modern environmental movement and is a great chance to walk the environmental talk. Since the first Earth Day in 1970, it has contributed to several important environmental protection actions in the United States and around the world. Today, it’s when we educate and encourage people to take environmental action. There are many things you can do to honor Earth Day this spring: attend an Earth Day event, plant a garden, or clean up your neighborhood. Take for instance, Environmental Justice Advocates of Minnesota (EJAM). Continue Reading →

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Grants available to help HN County businesses ramp up recycling

Hennepin County is the first local government in Minnesota to offer grants to businesses to improve recycling. The business sector generates more than half of the total waste in Hennepin County, and nearly two-thirds of waste created at businesses is recyclable. Helping businesses improve their recycling is an important strategy toward meeting the county’s goal of recycling at least half of the waste generated in the county by 2015. Recycling grants are now available for up to $50,000 for businesses to start or improve programs to divert recyclables and organics (food and non-recyclable paper) from the trash. Most businesses and nonprofits in the county — from large office buildings to churches, restaurants and apartment buildings — are eligible to apply. Continue Reading →

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