New window decals will show diners which restaurants recycle
Hennepin County introduced the window decals on June 11 as a way to encourage participation in commercial recycling programs. Businesses that recycle food scraps and non-recyclable paper, compost, donate edible food, and send food scraps for feeding local farm animals are eligible to receive the decal.
Barbette opened its doors in 2001 and by 2007 had implemented an organic composting program with Hennepin County and Eureka, a recycling organization based in the Twin Cities. Through this program, owner Kim Bartmann has minimized the amount of food waste Barbette produces.
"I think the decals are great, and customers like to know that we're doing these things and that we care about the environment," Kim says. "Composting especially is becoming more mainstream now."
The county partnered up with graphic design website the Noun Project to design the whimsical decals. The four decals indicate if the business recycles, donates food, feeds farm animals, or composts. Each one is bold in color and simplistic, making them easy to spot. The symbols can also be printed on table tents and there are electronic versions for websites.
Businesses are responsible for more than half of the waste in Hennepin County and two-thirds of that waste is recyclable.
There are currently 21 places that have the decals in their windows, including the International Dairy Queen, the MSP Airport, Mill City Clinic, Target Field, and the Wedge Community Co-op. Any commercial operation is eligible to participate.
Businesses can apply online at the Hennepin County website. Before being approved, County staff from the Department of Environmental Services must make a visit to verify the business's application and to inspect their recycling program.
Once approved, the business will be added in the Hennepin County Environmental Partners Directory where potential consumers and other business owners can view and support local ventures with recycling programs.
Businesses also have the option to apply for a grant to help better their current recycling program or to start one. There are two types of grants available, one for up to $10,000 and another for up to $50,000. The grant money is typically used for purchasing recycling bins, dumpster, proper bags for compost, and collection containers.
Applications for the grant can be submitted at any time and will be reviewed throughout the year, on March 15, June 15, and October 15. Any business is eligible to apply for a grant.
"As long as funding is available for the year," says John Jaimez of Organic and Recycling Specialists, "we will still consider [applications]."