Waste Resources

As we plan for our waste meeting, I thought it might be helpful to share some waste resources. I have already found lots of information doing research for the invite email.

Engebretson Disposal

Pope Douglas Solid Waste

City of Morris


Thanks, Syd! I actually didn’t know this, from the Engebretson link you shared:

Do you have extra recycling?

If you have extra recycling, you may use the recycle drop box at any of the following locations:

University of Minnesota horse barn

City of Morris garage

Engebretson & Sons Disposal Service, Inc.


It’s worth noting that Pope-Douglas Solid Waste has virtual tours (including short videos) of their recycling, incinerator, ash landfill, and other aspects of their operations on their website.


Recent scholarship (linked below) suggests that recycling in particular does not really displace the creation of “new” materials. This is unsurprising given that much of our consumption is of single use or disposable products, many of which are not easily recyclable (due to being composed of mixtures). For items (e.g. many plastics) that are recyclable, it is often difficult to recycle them into similar products.

Keith Brugger sent me this article a while back but I thought this group might be interested:


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I’ll cease commenting for a while after this, but if it makes any of us feel better about recycling in the U.S. heading to the landfill, the intrepid journalists at Journeyman Pictures uncovered serious issues with Sweden’s recycling program, namely that most of the plastic packaging that is recycled ends up being incinerated.

Ed, I appreciate all of your info about this! Keep commenting!

I enjoy reading about how the real change that is needed is production change. This feels harder to accomplish to me as a consumer. I also see how, with the right leaders & system change, production change has the most potential!

The part that is hard for me, and I assume a lot of people, is how do we get from (1) blaming consumers for their waste to (2) understanding it is a production problem to (3) making change to the production system. I like what the abstract said:

…scholars and policy makers should focus on finding and implementing ways to increase the displacement potential of recyclable materials rather than focusing on disposal diversion targets…

I also think that besides just scholars and policy makers, businesses should have to focus on increasing displacement potential.


Remember that little jingle from the Curious George movie (anyone in my class is now cringing, of course): Reduce, Reuse, Recycle? There’s a reason they are in that order (best-worst options for dealing with waste). But most of us currently like the last (worst) option the best.

There’s a chance that the current policy (in China, Indonesia, and elsewhere) of rejecting plastics from the U.S. and Europe will prompt us to reexamine our habits. But we have to remember that single use plastic is a big business for certain sectors that deal in dinosaur blood.


There was an interesting article posted in the Star Tribune on December 15, 2019 about a company called UBQ that is turning trash into plastic (https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2019/climate-solutions/israeli-startup-ubq-turning-trash-into-plastic-products/). Has anyone heard of this before or know more about the company? It seems too good to be true. Although wouldn’t reduce our reliance on plastics, it offers a way to make trash into something useful instead of burying or burning it, and it would limit the use of oil for making new plastics.