Under a new law that takes effect the first of the year, homeowners in the metro area will need to put their yard waste in compostable bags.
Waste haulers have long been taking bags of leaves and twigs to composting sites. But when the bags are plastic, they contaminate the compost.
State Rep. Paul Gardner, DFL-Shoreview, sponsored a law that requires people to use compostable bags. He said it will have multiple benefits.
"It increases the value of the compost, makes it more desirable for the end markets, which then drives more demand and keeps more stuff out of the landfills," Gardner said.
Landfills not only occupy precious space; they also create methane, a potent greenhouse gas.
Gardner said retailers are stocking up on approved bags. He said two companies in Minnesota make the compostable yard waste bags.
The law applies only to the seven-county metro area, and Minneapolis is exempted for three years while the city phases in new yard waste disposal equipment.