For the first time in 20 years, Minnesotans will be able to meet with state officials to address concerns about the state’s environment and natural resources. Last week Gov. Mark Dayton initiated six meetings that will take place around the state to promote discussion and give state officials ideas about ways to improve environmental laws. Climate change, the protection of the state’s lakes and streams and the conservation of forests are just some of the concerns that will be discussed at the meetings. They will hopefully ignite a productive dialogue about possible solutions that could be used to solve pressing environmental issues.
Making improvements in Minnesota’s recycling process and working to get more people participating in it are important issues that should also be discussed at the meetings. Recycling is a growing trend, but there are many people who either don’t know how to properly recycle or simply don’t make the effort. For example, a majority of bottled water containers are thrown away and do not end up in a recycling container. In order to encourage more people to use one-sort recycling, the Minneapolis Department of Public Works will distribute 110,000 blue 95-gallon carts to residents this spring on top of the 30,000 carts that have already been dispersed around the city. The University of Minnesota’s recycling program has nearly 5,000 color-coded recycling bins placed around campus and already processes roughly 3,800 tons of material annually. The program strives to eventually recycle 50 percent of the University’s total amount of wasted materials.
Minnesotans concerned about climate change and the protection of the state’s natural resources will have a chance to meet with state officials in the coming weeks. The meetings will hopefully lead to improved public policy and protections of the state’s environment.