City Wins LMC 2020 Sustainable City Award
The League of Minnesota Cities Awarded Columbia Heights for its Organics Pick-up Program Expansion
This fall, Luke Fischer, deputy director of the League of Minnesota Cities, presented the Columbia Heights City Council with the League’s 2020 Sustainable City Award. The Sustainable City Award is given each year by the LMC to a single city that has implemented a project, program, or initiative that helps the city achieve its sustainability goals through implementation of one or more of the GreenStep Cities’ 29 best practices.
Columbia Heights received the award, along with a check for $1,000, for its curbside organics program expansion.
In 2018, the City of Columbia Heights expanded its curbside yard-waste pick-up program to include food scraps, food-soiled paper, and other household compost, and to go year-round. Prior to this, the City had organized collection for curbside yard waste weekly, April-November, for more than 30 years. The program’s expansion was well received by residents, as more than 1,000 households signed up for curbside yard-waste/organics pick-up during the first year the expanded program was offered. Trash disposal was reduced by 500 tons, saving the city $37,500. Additionally, general recycling increased by 5%.
Currently, the City has more than 1,360 compost carts on the street covering 21% of refuse-serviced properties, and that number continues to rise.
Yard waste and organics are collected by the City weekly and then brought to a facility to make compost. Fresh compost is then returned to the City Recycling Center via the high school Key Club “Plate to Garden Compost” fundraiser, a MN Composting Council program. The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux composting facility donates the compost. The Kiwanis provide monitors for refuse stations at City and quasi-city events.
Columbia Heights residents are eligible to compost organics (food scraps and food-soiled paper) from their home in a dual-purpose cart for yard and food waste. The service is $2.52 per month, charged to the quarterly city utility bill. Email Public Works at email@example.com to order a compost cart.