Deciding which bin to throw that old pizza box in, or whether your takeout container can be recycled, just got a bit easier. Anoka County launched its latest tool to help people recycle more and it's right in the palm of your hand.
From batteries to garden pots, the Coon Rapids Recycling Center is home to dozens of items that can be recycled, but can't go in the recycling bin on your curb. When it comes to trash, knowing what goes where is key.
Jacob Saffert is a recycling program assistant for Anoka County. He says seeing that trash ends up in the right place is crucial to increase recycling overall.
“One of the big barriers to disposing of items is just the knowledge, and getting word out there to people about how to dispose of it,” he said.
And now in Anoka County, there's an app for that. Anoka County just rolled out a free app on iPhone and android that puts a master list of everything than can be recycled – and where it needs to go – right in the palm of your hand.
“The app is basically a database for Anoka County residents to find where they can dispose of items,” said Saffert.
“Whether it’s something that's commonly accepted curbside, like aluminum cans or cardboard, or something more specialized, like paint cans and tires.”
In Anoka County last year, about 53 percent of the trash collected made it to a recycling facility. The county would like to see that percentage go up and they hope this app can help.
The Minnesota state legislature updated the government’s recycling goals in 2014. All state agencies in the Twin Cities metro area are expected to achieve a recycling rate of 75 percent or higher by the year 2030.
Easy access to answers could help Anoka County achieve that long term goal. It's as simple as typing in a key word.
“That sounds like a good idea, especially for, like, younger people. I'm always on my phone so having an app like that sounds like a good idea,” said Elsie Nub.
The Oak Grove teen was at the Coon Rapids Recycling Center sorting trash for her grandmother. Nub said she would consider using a recycling app on her phone.
You can download the free app in the Apple store and on Google Play. Learn more here.
Jennifer Anderson reporting