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
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! !
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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!