Minnesota partnership brings free statewide recycling

The Recycling Association of Minnesota (RAM) and Minnesota Waste Wise (MWW) announced a new partnership between RAM’s Message in a Bottle™ (MIB) away-from-home recycling program and Waste Wise’s It’s in the Bag™ (IITB) plastic bag recycling program which will be expanded to ten additional communities throughout Minnesota beginning in October 2009. These programs currently work with vocational centers in four areas throughout Minnesota to offer free recycling services to local businesses and their customers.

“There is a great need to have easily accessible recycling programs such as these when Minnesotans are on the go. Message in a Bottle and It’s in the Bag fulfill this need,” stated Ellen Telander, executive director of RAM. “It is a value-added service for customers of local businesses, it can save businesses money on waste disposal costs, and it provides jobs for Minnesotans,” she added.

MIB and IITB have been largely successful at convenience and grocery stores in the Twin Cities, St. Cloud, Mankato and Hutchinson. RAM and Waste Wise attribute this success to the eye-catching, pop bottle-shaped recycling containers and clear bag recycling containers the programs used. To date, MIB has recycled more than 500,000 pounds of beverage containers and IITB has recycled more than 4.5 million pounds of plastic bags and shrink film.

The program expansion is possible due to a grant from USDA Rural Development’s Solid Waste Management grant program which will enable these programs to be set up in 10 additional areas throughout Minnesota. “The beauty of this program is that it becomes self-sustaining in six to twelve months time,” said Telander.