Since the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community first opened their Organics Recycling Facility (ORF) in 2011, the team has diligently worked to improve the efficiency and quality of the facility’s contributions to sustainability. Each year the ORF redirects an average of 70,000 tons of organic material away from landfills. This number is projected to be doubled (plus some!) with the new Dakota Prairie Composting facility opening in 2024.
Compost has always been the top priority for the ORF, as it proves to be a highway for reducing carbon emissions by capturing it in the soil as well as preventing pollutants from entering waterways by binding and degrading them in the soil. The state of Minnesota has recently embraced a goal of recycling 75% of all waste by 2030, and the ORF is taking proactive steps to help meet this goal, accounting for 22.9% of all composted material in the metro area.
To date, nearly 600,000 tons of food and yard waste from local organizations have been rerouted to the ORF through various schools, stores, businesses, and residents throughout the state. The annual Christmas tree and pumpkin collections provide an opportunity for those holiday decorations to get a second life as compost for use in local gardening and landscaping. The ORF has composted 22,000 trees and 54,100 pounds of pumpkins since these programs began, each finding their way back into the STA-certified compost and compost blends used by the SMSC’s very own Wozupi Tribal Gardens and also sold online for residential and commercial use.
Nearly 40,000 people have participated in the biannual free yard waste program since its introduction in 2013. Each year as we watch these numbers grow, we are reminded of our commitment to sustainability and of the clients who help us move toward these goals through their recycling efforts. Thank you to all who take part in these programs.