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GREEN TIP: Become familar with your local recycling policies and prepare your recycling accordingly.MInnKota Recycling

When I was a recent transplant to the Fargo Moorhead area, I was surprised to discovered that nobody in our area recycled paperboard/boxboard (cereal boxes). Thankfully, that has changed and now we’re able to recycle paperboard in our curbside recycling. I think it’s important to always stay on top of what can and can’t be recycled through your area’s recycling programs.

City of Fargo offers free curbside recycling for residents along with 27 drop-off locations throughout Fargo for the collection of recyclables. Twelve of the sites have containers for all recyclables, including yard waste. accept aluminum cans and tin/metal cans. They cannot accept scrap metal, nails, tin foil, aerosol cans (if empty, throw out) or paint cans.

Here’s a look at what is allowable in the City of Fargo’s curbside recycling program:MInnKota Recycling

Cardboard: Corrugated cardboard boxes, brown kraft bags, beverage containers, shoe boxes, cereal and food boxes, chipboard and paperboard.

Plastics: #1-7 Clean plastic container such as soda bottles, milk containers, detergent and shampoo bottles, yogurt & cottage cheese containers, ice cream pails, margarine tubs and vegetable containers. All containers with a recycling symbol of 1-7. REMOVE THE PLASTIC LIDS BEFORE PLACING YOUR BOTTLES IN THE RECYCLING BIN.

The City of Fargo will not accept these plastics:

Styrofoam, beverage cups, trays or fast food containers. Motor oil or antifreeze bottles, plastic bags, shrink wrap, film, toys. These items are not accepted even if they contain a recycling symbol on them.

Newspapers and Magazines: Newspaper, shoppers and anything that is delivered in the newspaper, including glossy inserts. Magazines, small catalogs and similar printed material with glossy pages.

Aluminum and Tin Cans: Aluminum, steel and tin cans.

Glass: Clear, brown and green glass bottles and jars.

For more information about the City of Fargo’s recycling programs, visit, for the City of West Fargo, visit and for the City of Moorhead, visit

RECYCLING FACTS from the National Resources Defense Council:

  • The U.S. currently recycles 32.5 percent of its waste, compared with about five percent in 1970.
  • According to the EPA, recycling cuts global warming pollution by the equivalent of removing 39.6 million passenger cars from the road.
  • Before 1973, no curbside recycling programs existed in the United States. By 2006, about 8,660 curbside programs had sprouted up across the nation.
  • Less than half of all post-consumer paper discarded in the United States is recovered for recycling.
  • Only 13 percent of water bottles are recycled. In 2005, Americans purchased 30 billion water bottles, and 26 billion of them wound up in landfills.
  • Airports and airlines recycle less than 20 percent of the 425,000 tons of passenger-related waste they produce each year.

Reducing our waste before it becomes recycling or goes to a landfill, is a goal we can all work towards. 

Here are a few tips:

  • Buy products in bulk and bring your own reusable containers to store them in. This eliminates food waste by helping ensure you buy only what you need. This will become even more of an option in our area once the Prairie Roots Food Co-op has a physical store. If you’re not yet a member, visit and join today!
  • Share or swap items with friends, family and neighbors to avoid unnecessary purchases.
  • Choose products and companies that support sustainability.
  • Focusing on quality over quantity.
  • Have items repaired instead of throwing them away.
  • Set aside unwanted, still-good items for schools, shelters and other organizations that will accept them.
  • Cook from scratch rather than buy packaged foods.
  • Reduce multiple trips to the store by stocking up on essential items, which will save gas and reduce pollution.
  • Avoid disposable items and instead use durable goods such as thermal cups, permanent plates and utensils.
  • Avoid taking freebies that you aren’t going to use.
  • Buy from thrift stores.
  • Before you purchase an item, consider what you’ll do with it’s no longer useful.

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

MinnKota Recycling

MinnKota Recycling is a local company that specializes in multiple material recycling and brokerage services. Their business covers most of North Dakota and Minnesota. While operating five recycling facilities and over 600 commercial accounts in this region, MinnKota has been recognized as the “Best in North Dakota” by the State Department of Health. Major production mills have also recognized MinnKota across the U.S. for their quality materials.

MinnKota Recycling keeps all the materials they collect in the U.S., they don’t ship it out to other countries. For example, their #2 plastics go to Bedford Recycled Plastic Technology, a company in Worthington, MN that manufactures FiberForce Plastic Lumber out of it. Glass goes to Glass Advantage in West Fargo and they tumble it into landscaping rock and other products.

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If you’re interested in the state of food in our area then you’re aware of the Prairie Roots Food Cooperative. The dream of a co-op in our area is on its way to becoming a reality. To raise awareness and to, hopefully, recruit new members (hint, hint) they have announced an art contest (information below). Yours truly will be entering and to warn anyone else who might be thinking about it, my daughters have told me I’m sure to win… ha!

“When the root is strong the fruit is sweet.” ~Bob Marley

The “Beautiful Food Art Contest” is your chance to show what beautiful food means to you. Does it mean the crops just coming up out of the ground; a farmer caring for livestock; a garden’s bountiful harvest; or the full spread at Thanksgiving? Maybe your art is a display for bread in the shape of a grain elevator, or maybe a wooden honeycomb used to display locally grown honey? Don’t be afraid to think outside the breadbox with this art contest.

The contest is open to ages 18 on up and the categories include both 2D and 3D art. The official entry form is at website and should be returned to by midnight, April 1st, 2013.

The exhibit at Moorhead Center Mall (in Moorhead, Minnesota) will feature the art display April 17th through the 21st ending with an open to the public Celebratory Event with refreshments and announcement of the winners at 3:00 PM.

The People’s choice 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners will receive respectively, a membership to the Prairie Roots Food Coop, value worth $300; two (2) tickets for the Local Foods Mystery Tour on Saturday, April 27, 2013, value worth $98; and one (1) ticket for the Local Foods Mystery Tour, value worth $49.

You don’t have to be a member of Prairie Roots Food Cooperative, but interested potential members should go to to learn more about the contest or to become a new member.


I DID win!


What a surprise!

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by Wendy Gabriel

GREEN TIP: Become familar with your local recycling policies and prepare your recycling accordingly.

As a recent transplant to the Fargo Moorhead area, I was surprised to discovered that nobody in our area recycles paperboard/boxboard (cereal boxes) so I decided I needed to take a look at what we can recycle.

City of Fargo offers free curbside recycling for residents along with 27 drop-off locations throughout Fargo for the collection of recyclables. Twelve of the sites have containers for all recyclables, including yard waste. accept aluminum cans and tin/metal cans. They cannot accept scrap metal, nails, tin foil, aerosol cans (if empty, throw out) or paint cans.

Cans, glass and plastic

They accept clear, brown and green glass bottles and jars. Blue glass containers can be placed with green glass. Labels do not need to be removed, however, please remove caps. We cannot accept ceramics, window glass, Pyrex, or standard light bulbs (fluorescent bulbs should be brought to the Household Hazardous Waste facility.)

They accept plastic bottles with a neck that have the #1 or #2 recycling symbol. Please empty, rinse and remove caps and rings before recycling. We cannot accept plastic containers #3 or higher, plastic bags, motor oil containers or vegetable oil bottles.

Corrugated cardboard

They accept corrugated cardboard boxes (with the wavy edge) and brown paper bags. Examples include mailing/shipping boxes, clean pizza box tops and some beverage boxes (most are not corrugated so check to be sure!).

They cannot accept used pizza boxes, wax-coated cardboard, soda cases, or boxboard (non-corrugated boxes such as cereal, shoe, and cigarette-type boxes).

Magazines and newspapers

They accept magazines and small catalogs with glossy pages.

They cannot accept catalogs with glued bindings, such as those from department stores or phone books (these are recycled in a special, short-term collection held each year).

They accept newspapers and shoppers (i.e. the Midweek) including their glossy inserts.

Source: City of Fargo

Shampoo/conditioner bottle caps

Aveda has a bottle cap recycling program. Bring your hard plastic caps to Aveda and they will use it to make new ones.

Plastic bags

We talked about plastic bags last week, Green Tip – Bring Your Own Bag. If you happen to find yourself with one, you can recycle it at most area grocery stores. Hornbacher’s, for example, has a plastic bag recycling bin as you enter the grocery store.

Getting back to those cereal boxes. I was initially frustrated that our area doesn’t recycle them but now I’m looking at it as an opportunity to reduce more waste. I’m going to buy bulk ingredients (in my own containers) and make my own granola.

Reducing our waste before it becomes recycling or landfill, is a goal we all work towards. What are some ways you reduce your waste?

My Green Side’s weekly web pick:

Valley Earth Week
Valley Earth Week is a committee made up of area citizens, members of non-profit organizations, businesses and agencies, the cities, community utilities and transit systems that aims to provide a gateway for companies and organizations to teach the Red River Valley about ways to live, work and play green.

Upcoming Event:

2010 Green Expo
Downtown Fargo Civic Center
Saturday, March 20, 2010 9:00 – 5:00 pm
Sunday, March 21, 2010 11:00 – 4:00 pm

The Valley Earth Week Green Expo is a great opportunity to learn about resources, services, and products that promote healthier, more ecologically sound lifestyles as well as educate attendees about the environmental impacts of consumer actions and choices currently in widespread use.

Editor’s Note: Each Wednesday My Green Side brings Simple Tips for Green Living to The Christopher Gabriel Program. We also highlight a favorite green site each week. You can stream the segment at approximately 1020am (CDT) every Wednesday at

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