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Removing plastic from yard waste

Published (2/13/2009)
By Sue Hegarty
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More stringent rules about how Twin Cities metropolitan area residents dispose of yard waste is the subject of a bill approved Feb. 11 by the House Environment Policy and Oversight Committee.

Since 1992, consumers have been prohibited from commingling yard debris with their solid waste. Disposal methods vary throughout the state, but plastic bags are largely used to store the waste for removal. When plastic is shredded with the yard waste, it remains in the compost generated at the resource recovery facility. In addition, haulers must pay an additional tipping fee if plastic is mixed with the debris.

Sponsored by Rep. Paul Gardner (DFL-Shoreview), HF403 would, beginning Sept. 1, 2009, prohibit consumers, haulers and bag manufacturers from using or selling yard waste bags that do not meet American Society for Testing and Materials standards for compostable plastics.

Gardner said it’s an attempt to have “truth in advertising” because there is a difference between compostable plastics and labeling practices do not differentiate between those that meet ASTM standards, he said. Keeping plastic out of the recycled commodity will also increase the quality and resale value of the compost.

The bill now goes to the House Finance Committee.

A companion, SF383, sponsored by Sen. Rick Olseen (DFL-Harris), is scheduled to be heard Feb. 16 by the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee.

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