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Public Space Recycling Best Practices

recycling bin in Mears ParkDownload Eureka Recycling's full report here.
(PDF, 6 MB)
Download the report's key findings here.
(PDF, 375 KB)

For cities and government
For community members
Update on public space recycling in Saint Paul
Our pilot programs


Public parks are often places where we celebrate the environment. In these spaces we can encourage stewardship of the environment by committing to make a different choice than wasting.

Eureka Recycling's work on public space recycling began in in 2005, when Saint Paul residents voiced a desire to see the city establish recycling in public spaces during the Saint Paul Environmental Roundtable. This community-based process, hosted by Eureka Recycling, helped set Saint Paul's policy direction on environmental issues.


For cities and government

The City of Saint Paul and Eureka Recycling committed to understanding how to make public space recycling cost-effective, environmentally beneficial, and consistent with community values.

We've highlighted the areas in which best practices are most needed in our report "Development of Best Practices in Public Space Recycling." (PDF, 6 MB)

This report provides information about collaborating with stakeholders, involving the community, building a recycling collection infrastructure, and articulating the environmental benefit of a public space recycling program.

Download the report's key findings here. (PDF, 375 KB)

Collecting recycling from public spaces is not a service Eureka Recycling currently offers, but we hope the report can help inform your choices in developing a program in your community.

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For community members

recyclers at Mear Park in Saint PaulThe success of any recycling program depends on the community being committed to making a choice different than wasting. Waste is not inevitable.

If you are interested in encouraging your city to expand public space recycling where you live, contact your city council. You can also refer them to our report on best practices.



Update on Public Space Recycling in Saint Paul

The City of Saint Paul has reviewed our recommendations for the expansion of public space recycling in the city. We will continue to work with the City to support their efforts to bring recycling to more parks and community gathering spaces. The City's current strategies include:

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Pilot programs

Eureka Recycling worked with the City of Saint Paul to study the patterns of waste and recycling and develop a system to accommodate an infrastructure for recycling. Como Park Zoo & Conservatory and Public Art Saint Paul joined this partnership to launch and test public space recycling in Saint Paul. In 2007, Eureka Recycling received grants from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the US Environmental Protection Agency to support this work.

Como Park Zoo & Conservatory

Como Park staff with new recycling containerSaint Paul Parks and Recreation Department (which manages Como Park Zoo & Conservatory) and Eureka Recycling partnered to establish a permanent recycling program at the zoo, launched in June 2008. We tapped into the knowledge and experience of maintenance staff at Como to select containers, design tracking methods, and identify improvements.


Mears Park

Recycling bin in Mears Park, Saint PaulIn Mears Park in downtown Saint Paul, the City of Saint Paul, Public Art Saint Paul, and Eureka Recycling created a unique combination of public recycling and public art, launched in June 2009. Artists Marcus Young and Seitu Jones were commissioned to creatively re-conceive the recycling bin and the ritual of recycling.



Urban Park Pavilions

Recycling containers were added to Saint Paul's six largest urban park pavilions in the summer of 2008. These pavilions were selected because they are used widely and are monitored and controlled. This environment was more sustainable for Parks and Recreation to work with as they began recycling at pavilions.

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