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Recycle Smart: Know What to Recycle and What Happens to Your Recycling

Excerpt from June 13 Hennepin Green Partners e-newsletter


To help address some common questions about recycling, Hennepin County is encouraging residents to Recycle Smart and know what goes in their recycling cart. See our recycling at work guide (PDF) or residential recycling guide (PDF)for a list of what’s accepted for recycling.

A great resource to share about recycling is a recent two-part series from Kare11. The first story featured a behind-the-scenes look at the Dem-Con materials recovery facility in Shakopee where recycling from residential carts gets sorted and baled.

They discussed some challenges that these facilities face from items that don’t belong in the recycling, like plastic bags and string lights that get tangled in the equipment and batteries that can cause fires. They also highlighted some recycling tips, including to leave plastic caps on plastic bottles, to not crush aluminum cans, and what the symbol with the number on plastic items really tells you (hint: it doesn’t mean that an item is recyclable).

So what actually happens to the materials that you put in your bin? Kare11’s second story features some of the 200 companies in Minnesota that take your recycled materials and turns them into new products. Boxes, ceiling tile, plastic furniture, plastic packaging, and rebar and just a few of the items your recyclables are turned into.


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