The secret life of trash: A sequel
What do $10,000, a handgun, a fourth-grader and a dead bear have in common? It sounds like the set-up for a bad joke, but this is the reality for employees at the Minneapolis material recycling facility, or MRF, which has found all of the above, and more, on the facility’s sorting floor over the years. The child, fortunately, was rescued and survived the incident.
Opened in 2002, the MRF in northeast Minneapolis is the second largest in the nation by size at 117,000 square feet, and first in the U.S. for volume, processing more than 800 tons of waste every day, about 185,977 tons annually.
That waste is trucked in from a five-state area that includes parts of North and South Dakota, northern Iowa, western Wisconsin and all of Minnesota, including the quiet suburb of Hopkins.
Residents of Hopkins made an April 20 pilgrimage to the facility, as a sequel to last August’s city-sponsored Tour de Trash event. While the summer tour gave residents a firsthand look (and smell) of what happens to city garbage after collection, part two took on an alternative path of solid waste through the recycling process.