City of Columbia Heights named as the 2020 Sustainable City Award recipient by the League of Minnesota Cities

(Aug. 19, 2020–St. Paul, MN) The League of Minnesota Cities recently presented the City of Columbia Heights with the 2020 Sustainable City Award for its Yard Waste/Organic Pick-up Expansion Program.

The Sustainable City Award is given annually to recognize sustainability efforts by a city among those participating in the Minnesota GreenStep Cities program – a free, voluntary program designed to help cities meet environmental sustainability goals through the implementation of 29 best practice actions. The League partners with eight other organizations, including nonprofits and state agencies, to administer the GreenStep Cities program.

About two years ago, the City of Columbia Heights began to expand its curbside yard-waste pick-up program to include food scraps, food-soiled paper, and other household compost, and to offer service year-round. Because the City had organized collection for curbside yard waste weekly, April-November, for more than 30 years, residents were already used to placing organic material on the curb for composting.

More than 1,000 households signed up for curbside yard-waste/organics pick-up during the first full year the expanded program was offered, and the program continues to demonstrate successful results. Trash disposal was reduced by 500 tons, saving the City $37,500. Additionally, general recycling increased in the City by five percent. The project incorporates several GreenStep Cities best practices, including sustainable consumption and waste, benchmarks, and community engagement.

The Sustainable City Award Competition was judged by a two-person panel of former League of Minnesota Cities Board of Directors members including Curt Boganey, city manager for the City of Brooklyn Center and Ron Johnson, councilmember, City of Bemidji.

The League of Minnesota Cities is a membership organization dedicated to helping cities throughout Minnesota build quality communities through effective advocacy, expert analysis, trusted guidance, and collective action. The League serves its more than 830 member cities through advocacy, education and training, policy development, risk management, and other services.