Minneapolis 'Zero Waste' Goal has More Questions than Answers

Updated: 04/03/2014 6:01 AM KSTP.com By: Jay Kolls

Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges announced Monday she has hired a policy aide in her office to work on sustainability policy, including plans to make Minneapolis a zero-waste city, which Mayor Hodges promoted in her campaign for mayor last year.

How much the zero-waste goal will cost and how it will operate are still unknown.

DuPont Avenue South rides a lot more like a backwoods drive down a country road than a nice city parkway. Walking the sidewalk for people around the area is a whole lot easier. And talk about a zero waste city plan is not high on their wish list--but a newly paved street is.

"How can you even do zero waste? How does that even work? I mean, we love it, but I don't understand," Katie Sisel questions zero waste.

And they want to know what it means for their pocketbook.

"I mean how much will all of this cost us as taxpayers?", Sisel added.

A couple streets over, Rick Bohnen worries about extra costs owning two Minneapolis gas stations.

"It's basically, more than likely, just another way to find a new permit to come up with, new regulation to abide by, a new check to write out", Bohnen said.

City Council member, Cam Gordon, likes the zero-waste concept, but he says Mayor Hodges has to explain how it works and what the costs and benefits are to win over taxpayers.

"What does all that mean? Because there's actually a lot of waste that the city generates and we have no idea, as a city council even, about all of it. We don't track it", Gordon emphasized.

The mayor was unavailable for comment. But her office issued a statement that says, in part, "The answers will be laid out in coming months when the new zero-waste policy employee is on staff and she will implement the plan."

The mayor's office says a top priority this year will be launching an organic recycling program. The salary and benefits for the new position will pay $76,000 over the next seven months. What the pay package will be in 2015 is not known.