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Start your Earth Day Action Quest today!


You are about to embark on the Earth Day Action Quest in celebration of Earth Day. Earth Day is a day for the global community to come together around our shared planet – together, we can change the world! Activities you find here will help you reduce your impact on the Earth and be a better steward of resources. When we reduce, reuse and recycle, we make Earth healthier for current and future generations.

Complete at least three activities to be entered into a drawing for a $50 Visa Gift Card*. To be entered into the drawing, click the badge at the bottom of the page. The final day of the Earth Day Action Quest is April 30th. Happy trails!

Wondering if Earth Day Action Quest is for you? IT IS! We all have a role to play. Join in and share your participation with the tag #EarthDayActionQuest.

This program is brought to you by Ramsey County, Washington County, and Ramsey/Washington Recycling & Energy.

* Three $50 Visa gift cards will be available.

Challenge 1: Waste Audit

Keep track of everything you throw in the trash today. At the end of the day, look at what you threw away. Are there choices you could make that would reduce how much you throw away? Reducing waste is important in creating a sustainable future. Try these easy swaps to reduce your waste! 

  • Paper towels: Keep a stack of washable cloth rags to use instead – cutting up old t-shirts works great. 
  • Chip bags and packaging: Buying individual bags or portions? Buying bulk is more cost effective and generates less packaging. Create your own servings with reusable containers. 
  • Plastic sandwich bags and wrap: Consider a reusable container. 
  • Coffee pods: Single-serve coffee pods are convenient but can be very wasteful. Instead, try reusable pods and bulk coffee. 

Challenge 2: Food: Too Good to Waste

Learn how to better store your food and eat up leftovers. As a proud agricultural state, Minnesotans know the hard work and resources that go into growing food. That’s why we want to make sure food gets eaten and doesn’t go to waste! When we throw away food, we waste money and all the resources it took to grow, ship and keep that food fresh. What’s the last food item you threw away because it went bad? Check out these food saving tips from savethefood.com

Challenge 3: Repair

Instead of tossing out broken items, challenge yourself to fix them instead. You’ll save money and feel handy. Check out ifixit.com for helpful tutorials on how to fix common items. You can also keep an eye out for Ramsey County Fix-it Clinics and Washington County Fix-it Clinics to start up again once it’s safe! ! 

Challenge 4: Donate

Donate your time, skills, gently used items, food and more. Donating to and buying from thrift stores is one of the best ways to reduce consumption. If you live in or near Washington County, check out this handy donation guide. Donating your time by volunteering at a food shelf or by cleaning up a natural area near you are great ways to support your community and protect your local environment. Find a way to donate this month. The opportunities are endless! 

Challenge 5: Furniture Forever

Donate gently used furniture or learn how to dispose of it properly. Many thrift stores or similar organizations will happily take your household furniture, and many even pick up your furniture for free! If furniture just needs a little love, consider giving it some new life by fixing it up. If it is beyond repair, check with your local hauler to arrange for a bulky waste pickup! 

Challenge 6: Food Scraps

Start collecting food scraps. You can compost food scraps in your yard or drop them off at a county collection site so that they can be turned back into nutrient-rich soil! Ramsey County residents, click here to get started, and check out this informative video while you’re at it. Washington County residents, click here.

Challenge 7: Sort it Out

Recycle only items that are accepted by your hauler to reduce contamination and increase the value of those materials. Test your knowledge by playing the Know What to Throw game! Note: Some haulers accept different materials. Check with your hauler for information on what materials can/cannot go in your curbside recycling bin. 

Challenge 8: Household Hazardous Waste

Dispose of household hazardous waste (HHW) at a drop-off location near you. HHW includes materials like household cleaners, paints, paint thinners, batteries, motor oils and pesticides. When not disposed of properly, HHW can pose a threat to human health and the environment. In Washington County, check out the Washington County Environmental Center. In Ramsey County, check out the year-round collection site. 

Challenge 9: Be a Battery Hero!

Be a battery hero and gather up your used batteries and bring them to a drop-off site near you. Batteries can cause fires when they end up in the trash or recycling cart. Bring them to the Ramsey County year-round collection site or the Washington County Environmental Center or another Call2Recycle location. 

Challenge 10: Medicine Drop Box

Clean out your medicine cabinet and dispose of your unwanted and expired medicines. Don’t throw them in the garbage or flush them down the toilet. Bring them to a free collection site in Ramsey County or Washington County and you will help prevent crime, drug abuse, accidental poisoning and protect our environment. 

Challenge 11: What’s an MRF?

MRF stands for “materials recovery facility,” which is where the items in your recycling bin go to be sorted for recycling. Check out what happens at Shakopee’s Dem-Con MRF, or search for examples of other MRFs in action and prepare to be amazed. 

Challenge 12: Parks, Parks, Parks!

Explore one of the 24 regional and county parks in your own backyard! Find info on Ramsey County parks here and Washington County parks here. 

Challenge 13: Take the Lead Out

Exchange your lead fishing tackle for a non-lead tackle. Tackle made from lead can poison loons, eagles and other wildlife if ingested. If you’re not sure if your tackle is made of lead, try rubbing the tackle on a piece of paper. If it leaves a streak, then it’s likely lead. Exchange your fishing tackle for free at the Ramsey County year-round collection site or the Washington County Environmental Center. 

Challenge 14: Find It at Your Local Library

Read a book about nature – plants, animals, climate, landscapes! Read a book from home or borrow one for free through your public library. Visit your library’s website to get started. Find Ramsey County library locations here and Washington County libraries here. 

Challenge 15: R&E Center Virtual Tour

Take a virtual tour of the Ramsey/ Washington Recycling & Energy Center here. All trash generated by residents and businesses in Ramsey and Washington counties is delivered to the R&E Center in Newport where it is processed to recover value. Processing trash also keeps the trash out of landfills. Can you find the control room on your tour? 

Challenge 16: Choose Your Own Challenge!

The ideas included here are just a small sample of countless things you can do to protect your local environment. Maybe you’re especially interested in protecting your local waterways, or maybe you want to start a vegetable garden (using nutrient-rich local compost!), join a buy-nothing group or plant flowers for pollinators. Maybe it’s climate change, or environmental justice, or reducing plastic consumption that you’re most concerned about. Whatever your idea is, get started now!