Consultants hired to lead the development of the county’s Zero Waste Plan

Hennepin County recently hired two consultants that will work collaboratively with county staff to develop a plan to reach a zero-waste future.

Reviewing the solid waste system

Resource Recycling Systems (RSS) was hired as the solid waste consultant and will be responsible for:

  • Analyzing the county’s existing solid waste system and identifying gaps
  • Reviewing the solid waste systems of leading zero-waste communities
  • Coordinating work groups comprised of industry stakeholders and community members to develop strategies and assess their costs and social, environmental and climate impacts

RRS is a sustainability and resource management consulting firm that specializes in solid waste assessments, facility auditing, closed loop system design and optimization, zero waste program implementation, policy, communications and outreach, and financial and data analysis modeling.

Facilitating community engagement

Antonia Maria Apolinário-Wilcoxon, Ed.D. of Equity Strategies, LLC was hired to facilitate the plan’s broad community engagement process with a strong focus on equity and disparity reduction.

During the plan development, the county needs to listen and respond to concerns about our solid waste system, facilities such as transfer stations and the Hennepin Energy Recovery Center, and our waste reduction programs to find paths forward to realize a zero-waste future.

The facilitator will provide transparency and neutrality in the discussions and analysis of feedback to ensure public trust in the Zero Waste Plan development process. The facilitator will also coordinate a cohort of 18 community groups that will be focused on engaging residents who have traditionally been left out of solid waste planning processes and are potentially more burdened by the current solid waste system.

Dr. Apolinário-Wilcoxon provides direction and leadership in efforts of private, public, and collaborative efforts working to improve the lives of disenfranchised and vulnerable persons impacted by inequities. An African-Brazilian, she obtained her doctorate degree in educational leadership and brings experiences in education, corporate, nonprofits, and government to lead efforts that bring agency, voice and liberation in spaces where the presence of oppression, bias and other barriers silence those most valuable voices to find solutions to problems in their world.

About the Zero Waste Plan

Hennepin County’s zero-waste vision is a system where all materials are designed to become resources for others to use. This system would avoid and eliminate the volume and toxicity of waste and materials, conserve and recover all resources, and not burn or bury them. The key performance measure is diverting 90% or more of all discarded materials from landfills and incinerators.

The Zero Waste Plan will complement the county’s newly adopted Climate Action Plan and provide the foundation for the county’s 2024 Solid Waste Management Master Plan. A draft of the Zero Waste Plan will be presented to the county board in November 2022.

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