Duluth to host ReUSE Minnesota meeting

ReUSE Minnesota, in collaboration with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, and the Western Lake Superior Sanitary District will co-host a networking meeting for representatives from reuse, rental and repair businesses on May 25 at the Duluth Public Library’s Green Room.

The informal meeting will introduce ReUSE Minnesota to businesses the Duluth area, facilitate business-to-business networking, and brainstorm ideas for promoting reuse in greater Minnesota.

ReUSE Minnesota is a membership network dedicated to promoting the state’s reuse sector, which is made up of reuse, rental and repair businesses. The sector includes of a wide range of businesses from used book, antique and thrift stores to bike, appliance and engine repair shops, and extends to rental and second-hand building material centers.

“Our state’s reuse economy generated over $10 billion in sales in 2015 and we want to see it continue to grow,” said Madalyn Cioci of ReUSE Minnesota and the MPCA. “By connecting businesses in the sector, we can help each other and work together to create more even momentum around reuse, rental and repair.”

Sarah Lerohl of the WLSSD said, “The mission of ReUSE Minnesota aligns with our own goals to protect natural resources and can offer valuable support to area businesses.”

ReUSE Minnesota has hosted similar gatherings in Saint Paul and Clay County in the past year. This is their first event in Duluth. The meeting is free and open to the public.

WLSSD to host collection event for unwanted medication

The Western Lake Superior Sanitary District (WLSSD) will host a free collection event for unwanted or expired medications at its regional Household Hazardous Waste Facility on Friday, April 7 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“Medicine Cabinet Clean-Out Day” is a one-day event offering residents free disposal of unwanted medications in a safe, convenient and environmentally sound manner. Due to U.S. drug laws, medication can only be accepted at this location during these specially-staffed events.

“The US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) reports that the non-medical use of prescription drugs ranks second only to marijuana as the most common form of drug abuse in America,” said Sarah Lerohl, Environmental Program Coordinator. “Proper disposal of unwanted medications, whether prescription or over-the-counter preparations, is a really easy step towards a safer community.” Additional Medicine Cabinet Clean-Out events are planned for Fridays, July 14 and October 13, 2017.

Residents are also encouraged to use the Take It to the Box medication drop box sites at local law enforcement agencies, providing residents with year-round opportunities for safe, convenient, and confidential disposal of unwanted or expired medicines. The drop-off sites are accessible to residents during all public hours at the Duluth Police Department/St. Louis County Sheriff’s Public Safety Building, the Hermantown Police Department, the Proctor Police Department, and the West Duluth Police Substation.

To prepare for all drop off programs:

. Bring prescription or over-the-counter medication in its original container and place in a sealed, clear plastic bag.

. Cross off or scratch out identifying information if desired. Drop off is anonymous, no ID is required.

. Keep medications out of reach of children while storing and transporting material.

. Needles or other medical sharps are only accepted at the Household Hazardous Waste facility, not drop box sites. Separate and package them in rigid containers such as laundry detergent bottles for safe disposal.

Medicine Cabinet Cleanout events are a community effort aimed at preventing accidental poisonings, diversion of medicines for illicit purposes, and the introduction of pharmaceuticals into local waterways via improper disposal down the drain or toilet. The St. Louis County Sheriff’s Department will provide law enforcement staff at the event while pharmacists from Essentia Health and St. Luke’s Hospitals and Clinics will aid in the sorting and identifying the collected medication.

Western Lake Superior Sanitary District provides award-winning wastewater and solid waste services to residents, businesses and industries within its 530 square mile service area in Southern St. Louis and northern Carlton counties, and is a nationally recognized leader in pollution prevention.

Film and discussion Thursday to focus on decreasing plastic bag use

A film and open forum to discuss the adoption of local policies to diminish the impact of single-use plastic bags will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday at Duluth Denfeld High School.

The film, “Bag It,” provides information at a personal level about the use of single-use disposable plastic bags in everyday life, and the impact those bags — 60,000 are used in America every five minutes — have on our lives, health and the environment. It also explores what individuals can easily do to lessen their use of plastic bags, from simple habits as consumers to advocating for legislation to make changes in cities and states across the country.

Following the film, diverse experts representing citizens, non-profit organizations, educators and government will provide information on what can realistically be done In Duluth and the surrounding area to decrease the negative impact of plastics. The audience will be encouraged to ask questions or voice concerns as part of the experts’ discussion.

The confirmed experts are:

. AJ Axtell, Western Lake Superior Sanitary District

. Jamie Harvie, Institute for a Sustainable Future and Bag It Coordinator

. Dr. Lorena Rios Mendoza, University of Wisconsin, Superior

. Em Westerlund, Duluth City Councilor

“We are asking the Duluth City Council for leadership through support for common-sense legislation, modeled after more than 160 cities and states that would save local businesses money, protect local fisheries, minimize climate impacts, and protect our waters,” said Harvie. “Duluth should be at the forefront of this since we are already known across the nation for our promotion of active, healthy, living and for our stunning outdoor environment.”

Making small changes to benefit citizens’ lives and the environment is a natural fit for Duluthians. Locally, maintaining the health and beauty of Lake Superior is a priority, and yet more than 22 million pounds of plastics enter the Great Lakes every year. Small fragments of plastic have already been found in the St. Louis River and off of Park Point. The “Bag It” film, the following discussion, and a tip sheet available to every attendee will provide information on what individuals can do to reduce the use of plastics. Attendees are also encouraged to bring reusable bags to donate for use at food shelves.

The event is sponsored by the League of Women Voters—Duluth.

Treecycling gears up with multiple locations

Western Lake Superior Sanitary District and area partners kicked off the annual Treecycling program this week, encouraging residents to recycle their fresh-cut holiday trees. This free holiday tree recycling program offers multiple locations available 24-hours a day throughout the region.

“Holiday trees, like yard and garden waste, are banned from the trash in Minnesota,” said Karen Anderson, WLSSD’s director of community relations. “These materials contain valuable resources that can be reclaimed through Treecycling. Collected trees will be beneficially re-used as fuel, to line paths, mulch garden beds or for other purposes, while recovering resources and saving landfill space.”

This year’s Treecycling program offers a variety of convenient tree recycling sites—all open for extended periods of time. The extended timeline and locations will help area residents to properly dispose of their fresh-cut holiday trees during times most convenient to them.

Six sites are open for tree drop-off December 26th through January 10th:

. Chester Bowl (parking lot by playground)
. Lester Park (parking lot by playground)
. Duluth Heights Community Club (parking lot across the street)
. Woodland Community Club (lower parking lot off Woodland Ave)
. Rose Garden (parking lot)
. City of Duluth West Toolhouse (on Commonwealth Avenue)

Two sites in Carlton County are open December 26th through January 15th

. SAPPI Fine Paper (Cloquet, gatehouse entrance)
. Moose Lake Compost Site (across from City garage)

Four additional sites are open through January 31st
. Demolicious (in western Duluth)
. VEIT/VONCO V Landfill (in the Gary neighborhood)
. WLSSD Yard Waste Compost Site (off 27th Avenue West)
. WLSSD Materials Recovery Center (off Rice Lake Road)

“Area residents appreciate longer-term opportunities to Treecycle. They’ve told us that drop off locations are more helpful than one-day events,” said Anderson. “Treecycling drop off sites are conveniently located in many neighborhoods, providing the opportunity for residents to Treecycle quickly and easily, no matter how busy their schedules might be.”

More details about the 2016 Treecycling program are available at wlssd.com.

Those recycling fresh-cut trees are reminded to remove all ornaments and tree stands before bringing trees to a Treecycling location. Wreaths, garland and other decorations made from evergreen branches are not recyclable and should be thrown in the trash.

Western Lake Superior Sanitary District provides award-winning wastewater and solid waste services to residents, businesses and industries within its 500 square mile legislative boundaries in southern St. Louis and northern Carlton counties, and is a nationally recognized leader in pollution prevention.