Protect the Earth all year long


(MGN Online)

A belated Happy Earth Day. Each year, on April 22, the United States recognizes the importance of environmental protections. Landfills are constantly being filled with harmful liquids and solids that should be disposed of properly. We can — and should — do more to improve recycling efforts.

The biggest concern for landfills and earth clutter is dumping electronic items such as televisions, computers, and all of those electronic gadgets that are being replaced with even newer gadgets. There is the illegal disposal of old paint, expired medicines, and chemical gardening products. And it isn’t just landfills, in the winter there is de-icer; and this is the time of year when insecticides and fertilizers are applied to lawns and gardens. All of these chemicals eventually leach into the ground water through rainwater and lawn sprinkler run off.

Earth Day was created in the United States in 1970 to help people be more aware of these actions. Earth Day is now recognized in 193 countries and run globally by celebrating Earth Day network. Minnesota also takes pride in promoting a healthy, clutter-free earth. Republic Services celebrates the day with a #1MorePledge initiative. Other companies such as Garbage Man are also on board with the go green campaign.

Republic Services’ #1MorePledge campaign encourages their customers, employees and the communities served to take the pledge, and commit to one more act of environmental stewardship or community service to help preserve our planet.

In a news release, Peter Keller, vice president of recycling and sustainability at Republic Services, said, “At Republic, we understand it can be overwhelming when trying to recycle the right way or make a meaningful impact to help the environment.” He continued, “But no act is ever too small. This month and throughout the year, we encourage our customers and the communities we serve to pledge to do one more thing to make a lasting environmental impact.”

This year, Republic is encouraging everyone to:

  • Practice better recycling by making sure your recyclables are empty of their contents, clean off any residue and dry before placing them in a recycling container.
  • Learn about electronics recycling solutions to help ensure obsolete electronics are recycled safely, completely and responsibly.
  • Encourage the recycling of universal waste at work to help your employer meet compliance requirements for items such as batteries, bulbs and ballasts, which should not be thrown away with regular waste.

Tom Chovon, Republic Services general manager in Eden Prairie, told the MSR, “[We are] working with Methodist Hospital to help with their recycling efforts, as well as promote recycling. We will also have representatives at Alliance Companies.” Chovon said his company sponsors an event at Mall of America where 8-10 people have booths to talk about recycling and disposal of solid waste.

What are simple ways for youth to help save the earth? Chovon offered this advice, “Kids can encourage their schools to get involved in better recycling efforts. Not all schools recycle the same. Minneapolis School District is the largest school district and we provide ‘Organic Collection.’ [Children] can also help by promoting recycling at home.”

According to the City of Minneapolis website, organics recycling includes collecting fruits, vegetables, bones, meat, breads, eggshells, non-recyclable and food-soiled paper, and more for composting. The new organics recycling program is another option for residents to reduce waste.

Jeff Marone, general manager of the Twin Cities Region of Republic Services, added, “There are many community sites that take waste and drop-offs of electronics. We know the impact that those landfills have on the community. So, we want to provide lots of education opportunities, with community groups, [like] Boy Scouts, Girls Scout and church groups. We also have a park cleaning at Swing Bridge Park in Inver Grove Heights.”

Tracy Skenandore, communications manager for Republic Services corporate headquarters, added, “I would like to piggyback off what [Marone] said. Landfills are highly engineered facilities. We take a lot of pride in operating and managing them in a very responsible manner.  We have a lot of measures in place to protect the environment and the community. The reality is that landfills do serve a purpose in our communities, when they are handled in the right way.”

Recycling can be an easy option done every day by almost everyone. If you are looking for more information on recycling or recycling options go to


Brandi D. Phillips takes reader comments at