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Food Scrap Bags: Residential Food Scrap Collection

Ramsey/Washington Recycling & Energy is developing a system to collect food scraps from residents at their homes. This service will be available to all residents in the two counties. Roll out is expected to begin in 2022, with service available to all residents by 2023.

Why collect food scraps?

Food scraps make up about 20% of trash collected in Ramsey and Washington counties by weight. The counties are developing a new way to recover this material so that it can be turned into soil and energy. Recovering food scraps from trash will help reach the state’s recycling goals and provide health, environmental, and economic benefits to the community.

How will it work?

Food scraps will be collected from residents using special bags called “food scrap bags.” Food scrap bags will be co-collected with trash and then sorted from the trash after collection. This system requires no additional carts or trucks.

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Residents put food scraps into “food scrap bags” and put them in their garbage cart for collection.

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Haulers collect the bags along with the trash.

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The bags are sorted from the trash at transfer stations and the R&E Center.

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Food scraps are recycled at anaerobic digestion and/or compost facilities.

Food scrap bags are durable and compostable. They are thicker than compostable bags currently used at county drop-off sites, and are designed to hold up on the trip in a garbage truck. They’re also designed to eventually break down along with their contents.

R&E will provide bags and service at no cost to residents. Bag distribution will occur through an online ordering system with a call-in option available for those without internet access.

Why food scrap bags?

Food scrap bags are an efficient and cost-effective method of collecting food scraps from residents at the curb. Benefits of this method include:

  • Does not require an additional collection cart
  • Does not require a separate collection day
  • Does not require additional hauling trucks
  • Has little impact on current waste hauling services
  • Results in fewer greenhouse gas emissions

More information can be found on this program fact sheet (PDF).