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Minnesota Cities Rank Among Top and Bottom in Recycling

August 25, 2009

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Carrying bins loaded with aluminum cans and bundled newspapers is a twice-monthly ritual for most Twin Cities residents. But experts say Minnesotans can do better when it comes to recycling if they know all their options.

Amy Hock with the Des Moines Metro Waste Authority in Iowa says there are different phases to recycling, like pre-cycling, free-cycling, up-cycling, down-cycling and e-cycling. Hock says Minnesotans can begin the process when they head out to stores.

"Buy what you need and use what you buy; that is a way of pre-cycling - thinking before you make a purchase. Free-cycling is a term that is used when you give items away instead of throwing them away."

Up-cycling is creating useful items from recycled material. Down-cycling is reusing a product for an alternative lesser-quality purpose to keep it out of the landfill. E-cycling refers to the recycling of electronics.

Hock says paying attention to cutting down on waste saves people money and makes for a healthier environment. If it's difficult to keep the different phases in mind, she says, just remember the three R's.

"They just need to keep remembering three words, it's reduce, reuse and recycle and those three words can go a very long way."

Hock says all phases of recycling can be used at home, school, the office, or wherever you find yourself, to keep material out of landfills.

St. Paul is in the top 20 U.S. cities for successful recycling, but Minneapolis has some ground to make up, in 74th place, according to a ranking by Men's Health magazine. Fresno, California, ranked first in the country.

There's more at www.menshealth.com

Art Hughes, Public News Service - MN