Investing in the Future

Ramsey/Washington Recycling & Energy (R&E) is continually expanding its efforts to minimize waste generated in the community, while recovering value from waste that arrives at the R&E Center. Through R&E, the counties are increasing investments in waste reduction, reuse and recycling. Examples include:

  • Expanding work on food waste reduction, recovery and recycling
  • Supporting recycling in multi-unit housing and schools
  • Assisting businesses such as dry cleaners and auto body shops transition to safer chemicals and processes
  • Working with the community to encourage reuse of materials

With a focus on recovering value from waste and opportunities presented by new technology, the counties’ plans also include upgrading the Recycling & Energy Center:

  • R&E is developing a program to collect food scraps (organics) from residents using compostable bags co-collected with trash. These bags will be sorted from the trash after collection, and the material will be sent to compost or anaerobic digestion facilities. For more information, see the food scraps bags fact sheet (pdf).
  • Despite strong efforts to increase recycling in homes and businesses, a large number of recyclables remain in the trash. The R&E Center plans to add equipment to recover high-value recyclables such as metals, certain plastics and cardboard, from the waste stream. This will augment, not replace, household and business recycling.
  • Research is under way to partner with private industry to utilize new technologies to recover value from waste byproducts from the R&E Center.

Guiding Principles

When Ramsey and Washington counties were considering purchase of the Recycling & Energy Center, they focused on how the facility could best serve as part of an effective solid waste management system well into the future. In doing so, they adopted the following guiding principles for design of the waste and recycling system:

  • Plan for a 20-30 year horizon
  • Build on the current system and allow changes in processing to emerge over time
  • Assure flexibility
  • Manage risks
  • Pivot the view from “waste” to “resources” to add value to the local economy and environment

Considerable research and evaluation has shaped the development of the R&E waste management system:

Policies and Reports

Annual Reports

Financial Reports