The Twin Cities is bulging with trash. What can be done?

garbage truck dumps load of trash into a huge pile of refuse
A garbage truck dumps a load of trash at a landfill in Minnesota. The metro area is falling short of its 75 percent recycling goal as more landfills run out of space.
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

Landfills in the Twin Cities are running out of room and requesting permission to expand. Meanwhile, the metro area is not meeting a legislatively mandated goal of recycling 75 percent of what residents throw away.

Nearly half the waste produced in the metro area is still trucked to facilities that burn solid waste for electricity or to landfills, some in other states. But, burning and burying trash produces health and environmental problems that often hit low-income communities hardest.

Host Angela Davis talks to experts about some of the reasons for our growing trash problem and possible solutions.

Want to learn more? Sign up for a virtual tour of Eureka Recycling.


  • Lynn Hoffman is co-president of Eureka Recycling based in Minneapolis. The nonprofit recycling company collects and processes recyclable materials in St. Paul and processes material in Minneapolis.  

  • Kirk Koudelka is assistant commissioner for land policy and strategic initiatives at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency which regulates landfills and solid waste disposal.  

  • Michael Boyd is co-founder of Bicycle Glass, a Fridley company that makes pendant light fixtures from 100 percent recycled glass.

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