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Message in a Bottle program expands

The Recycling Association of Minnesota (RAM), in partnership with the Minnesota Beverage Association, Midwest Special Services and ProAct, Inc., are expanding the Message in a Bottle (MIB) recycling program in the Twin Cities area to an additional 60 convenience stores.

RAM has been working the past year and a half to expand the MIB program in the metro area from 12 convenience stores to 150. Currently, 90 convenience stores have the MIB service. The majority of businesses participating are located in Minneapolis, Dakota County, St. Paul, and parts of Ramsey and Washington County. The further expansion will bring free recycling service for convenience stores to more of Minneapolis, Brooklyn Park, Brooklyn Center and Hastings. The continued support of the Minnesota Beverage Association and others has made this expansion possible.

“The expansion from 16 convenience stores in 2011 to over 150 throughout the metro area is having a great impact on recycling, as well as green job creation,” said RAM’s director, Maggie Mattacola. “Each convenience store recycles on average one ton of beverage container material each year, since the beginning of 2013 we have recycled over 20,000 pounds of plastic bottles and nearly 4,000 pounds of aluminum cans.

In the metro area the MIB program partners with ProAct, Inc. and Midwest Special Services, nonprofit organizations providing employment opportunities to individuals with disabilities, for the collection and sorting of the beverage containers. MIB is a green jobs program making recycling easy for customers of local businesses.

This southern metro expansion will have an impact on recycling, as well. Each convenience store is estimated to collect approximately 2,000 pounds of recyclables each year, for a total of 300,000 pounds of beverage containers recycled annually. Statewide, Message in a Bottle is currently available in 15 communities, covering much of Minnesota, and has recycled over 1 million pounds annually since its inception in 2007.