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Ramsey/Washington expands Recycling and Energy Center

On July 17, 2023, Ramsey/Washington Recycling & Energy (R&E), celebrated the completion of enhancements at the R&E Center, a 450,000 ton per year solid waste processing facility in Newport. These enhancements, which include a building addition and next-generation technology to sort more materials from the trash, will support the launch of one of the largest residential food scrap recycling programs in the country.
Food scraps, such as fruit and vegetable peels, eggshells and bones, make up 20% of the waste generated in Ramsey and Washington counties.
“We are excited to bring a second life to material that would have normally ended up in landfills or incinerators,” said R&E Board Chair and Washington County Commissioner Fran Miron. 
The counties developed the food scraps pickup program, a free residential program aimed at recovering food scraps and transforming them into soil instead of becoming waste, to make progress toward their climate goals.
Funding for the facility enhancements was provided in part through the 2020 Minnesota State bonding bill, with $7 million allocated from state funding. Along with supporting the food scraps pickup program, the facility expanded its recyclable recovery system. Together, the new processing equipment and the food scrap pickup program will divert a total of 60,000 tons of valuable material from landfills or incineration for recycling annually. To put it in perspective, that’s enough recyclables and food scraps to fill Allianz Field three times.
The program is currently in its pilot phase and will soon be rolled out to residents in Ramsey and Washington counties in phases. 

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