Sustainable Bulky Item Disposal Plan

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

The City is committed to reducing the environmental impact of our current Curbside Cleanup program. Staff and the Sustainability Commission sought community feedback in April 2021 on a proposed plan for handling bulky items in Bloomington in a more sustainable way. Over 1,400 residents provided feedback in a survey and over 60 attended Community Listening Sessions #1 and #2. Since April 2021, Staff have reviewed the feedback, conducted additional research and developed a new proposal to incorporate what was heard. Staff have worked closely with the Sustainability Commission in the development of the new proposal and it has been presented to the Joint City Council and Sustainability Commission Solid Waste Working Groups. The updated proposal includes:

  • An every-other-year curbside cleanup with limited items accepted. Small items that can fit in a large garbage cart will no longer be accepted during the cleanup.
  • A regular monthly collection of reusable and recyclable bulky items.
  • An annual drop-off event for other recyclable bulky items, like electronics not collected during the curbside cleanup.
  • Community swap events for certain categories of items like toys and sporting goods, and gardening tools

More information about the new proposal: July 29, 2021 Joint City Council and Sustainability Commission Solid Waste Working Group Presentation


Community Listening Session

Attend a Community Listening Session to learn about the updated proposal for sustainable bulky item management in Bloomington and provide your feedback.

Tuesday, August 31, 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

The meeting will be held virtually over WebEx.

To register, click here.


Next Steps

On September 13, 2021, the updated proposal will be presented to City Council for discussion including a report on what staff heard during the August 31st Community Listening Session. On September 21, 2021, the proposal will be presented to the Sustainability Commission for their recommendation that City Council accept the new proposal. On September 27th, the proposal will be brought forward to City Council for adoption.

The City is committed to reducing the environmental impact of our current Curbside Cleanup program. Staff and the Sustainability Commission sought community feedback in April 2021 on a proposed plan for handling bulky items in Bloomington in a more sustainable way. Over 1,400 residents provided feedback in a survey and over 60 attended Community Listening Sessions #1 and #2. Since April 2021, Staff have reviewed the feedback, conducted additional research and developed a new proposal to incorporate what was heard. Staff have worked closely with the Sustainability Commission in the development of the new proposal and it has been presented to the Joint City Council and Sustainability Commission Solid Waste Working Groups. The updated proposal includes:

  • An every-other-year curbside cleanup with limited items accepted. Small items that can fit in a large garbage cart will no longer be accepted during the cleanup.
  • A regular monthly collection of reusable and recyclable bulky items.
  • An annual drop-off event for other recyclable bulky items, like electronics not collected during the curbside cleanup.
  • Community swap events for certain categories of items like toys and sporting goods, and gardening tools

More information about the new proposal: July 29, 2021 Joint City Council and Sustainability Commission Solid Waste Working Group Presentation


Community Listening Session

Attend a Community Listening Session to learn about the updated proposal for sustainable bulky item management in Bloomington and provide your feedback.

Tuesday, August 31, 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

The meeting will be held virtually over WebEx.

To register, click here.


Next Steps

On September 13, 2021, the updated proposal will be presented to City Council for discussion including a report on what staff heard during the August 31st Community Listening Session. On September 21, 2021, the proposal will be presented to the Sustainability Commission for their recommendation that City Council accept the new proposal. On September 27th, the proposal will be brought forward to City Council for adoption.

Ask A Question

Send us your questions and a staff member will get back to you soon.    Check our FAQ's section on the right for answers to commonly asked questions. 


loader image
Didn't receive confirmation?
Seems like you are already registered, please provide the password. Forgot your password? Create a new one now.
  • Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    How do I dispose of needles. My daughter passed away on Christmas Day 2020, and I have several boxes of used and unused needle from her apartment. She was diabetic. They are the mini ones.

    vivian jacobson asked about 2 months ago

    It is important to manage and dispose of needles, lancets, and syringes (sharps) safely to prevent injury and disease transmission from needle-sticks.

    In Minnesota, it is currently legal to put used sharps that are in a laundry detergent bottle with a lid (sealed with tape) into the garbage.  However this is highly discouraged because of the injury and health risks it places on garbage hauler and processing facility workers. It is best to use one of the options listed in Hennepin County's Green Disposal Guide: https://www.hennepin.us/green-disposal-guide/items/needles-sharps.   

  • Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    Has anyone asked ‘why is the city involved with curbside cleanup in the first place?’ Why is this the city’s responsibility? Us residents got the bulky item to our homes to begin with, why does the responsibility to remove them fall to the city? Wouldn’t it be easier for residents to call 1-800-got-junk and have them come remove as needed? Wouldn’t having all residents drive to an event to haul bulky items pump a ton of CO2 in the air. How is that more sustainable?

    MDP asked about 2 months ago

    The City has found that looking at this service as a system, where it is accessible to all garbage and recycling customers, makes dealing with these bulky items easier and more affordable for residents overall.  Having a system-wide approach means we can negotiate for volume pricing with the haulers.

    For example, currently, all residents are paying $53.04 for the curbside recycling program which allows them to dispose of several bulky items.  If a resident had to contract for this service alone, it could cost them $53.32 to dispose of one item.

    Keeping the prices affordable and having the service accessible also helps to ensure that residents dispose of these items in a responsible manner. If the cost to dispose of these items gets too large, some residents may opt to hang on to them, cluttering houses, yards, and alleys.  It also means that some residents may not dispose of these items appropriately, and they can end up in our public spaces like parks or on the side of the road.   This illegal dumping costs us all more.

    The current curbside cleanup program operates on the same model—where the program is accessible to all households in the garbage and recycling program and all share in the costs.  Services like recycling, park maintenance and police patrol are paid for by everyone even though not everyone uses the service.  While not used by everyone, the entire community benefits by the provision of these services. 

  • Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    Thoughts on partnering with local charities like Bridging to take the used furniture that is in working condition? It seems a good way for the organization to get some needed items, and it reduces the amount of usable stuff that ends up in a landfill. Folks could get receipts for tax purposes.

    lona asked 6 months ago

    Collecting material during our Curbside Cleanup is not a sustainable model for Bridging or other local charities.  Bridging has tried to collect during our cleanup in the past and found that material is often picked over or damaged by weather.  In addition, in order to collect during our cleanup, they would need to have additional trucks and staff to collect the material.  Lastly, Bridging needs donations year round rather than a heavy volume in the Spring.  

    In the City's updated proposal, the City will be seeking a vendor to collect used furniture that is in good condition on a monthly basis.  This model allows for material to be collected by a vendor year round, rather than on a single weekend.  This model would allow a vendor to receive a regular supply of items, and would be easier to scale for necessary trucks, administration and staffing. 

  • Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    We just did the survey - and asked this there. Will there be assigned/designated times to do the drop off --- to avoid LONG lines on a Saturday morning? Long lines will discourage people from doing this. Also, if you are NOT paying for the service on your Garbage (utility bill) will there be a fee for them to participate = that would seem the fair thing to do. Will the vouchers be transferrable - yet still just for Bloomington residents? (example, a neighbor needing to get rid of more things than what we need to?)

    MLA asked 8 months ago

    We are planning to provide the event in a space that is accommodating to a good number of vehicles at a time, and has a lay-out that moves vehicles through the site quickly.  We also will provide instructions to residents ahead of time regarding how to pack their vehicles so items can be unloaded efficiently.  We may also consider designated times for different areas of the City.  While we do anticipate there will be wait times involved at a drop-off, this kind of planning helps cut down on long wait times.  The final event details are not finalized at this point, but a goal in planning the drop-off events will be to minimize wait times.

    Residents could use their two vouchers for pickup of any two items throughout the year, but could not “transfer” the voucher.  Any additional items scheduled for a pickup would be collected for a fee. 

    At this time, we are still exploring the best way to charge all users for the Community Drop-Offs.  In other communities with similar events, often residents who bring materials to the drop-off are charged directly at the event, depending on what they bring.  Certain items are collected at no cost, and certain items that are more costly to handle, like electronics, will include a small charge.  That way, the cost of the Community Drop-Off event is covered by all users, and not just those with City garbage and recycling service.  

  • Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    What will happen if I leave a couch out for scheduled pickup with the voucher and someone steals or removes my voucher? Will I have to be present for scheduled pick up with voucher? Thanks, Bipin R. Amin

    inbip56 asked 7 months ago

    The vouchers are not physical pieces of paper.   The City would keep track of how many vouchers a household has available through our Utility Billing software.  So as a resident calls in to schedule a pickup of a bulky item to make use of a voucher, Utility Billing will track how many bulky items have been picked up for free.  After two bulky items had been picked up at no cost within the year, additional bulky items would be charged a fee.

  • Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    What modifications have been made to your models to account for the tremendous amount of upcycling that happens within the existing system? Every year we put out heavy metal objects that could not be placed in the trash, and none of them are picked up by Bloomington, they are all upcycled. Your proposed system would totally eliminate this activity.

    Mike Bosveld asked 7 months ago

    Scrap metal could be set out for collection and recycling through use of a bulky item voucher, or brought to one of the drop-off events.  

    We are aware that reuse and recycling happens already in our current program, but it is not something the City can accurately track and study consistently – the piles are constantly changing throughout Curbside Cleanup, and households with the same collection day don’t set materials out at the same time.   

    We have considered the addition of a re-use area to our drop-off events to allow for recycling/upcycling.We anticipate some reuse will still happen naturally outside of City-sponsored events in the proposed model as well.   

  • Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    I already pay for this service through taxes. If it's converted to a drop off event the ease of and likely hood of additional fees for dropping items off will less to increases in the cost without removing the tax. This is also an access issue as not everyone will be able to transport their stuff to the central location.

    Mike Bosveld asked 7 months ago

    The current curbside cleanup program is funded through a fee on resident’s utility bills, and is not funded through general City property taxes.

    In the proposed model, the vouchers for disposal of bulky items throughout the year would only be available for households with City garbage and recycling service, and would be paid for by all those households, similar to how the Curbside Cleanup fee is charged on Utility Bills today. 

    At this time, we are still exploring the best way to charge all users for the Community Drop-Offs.  In other communities with similar events, often residents who bring materials to the drop-off are charged directly at the event, depending on what they bring.  Certain items are collected at no cost, and certain items that are more costly to handle, like electronics, will include a small charge.  That way, the cost of the Community Drop-Off event is covered by all users, and not just those with City garbage and recycling service.  Typically, communities subsidize some of the costs of these events to keep the charges relatively low so people are incentivized to use the events.  The City receives a recycling grant from Hennepin County each year and may consider using part of that grant funding to cover the costs of collecting certain items for recycling at the event. 

  • Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    you mention TVs. Right now the curbside clean-up program does not accept televisions nor monitors and there is a fee to drop them off at the Haz Waste site. Will these items be accepted at no additional fees under the proposed program? Also, have you considered allowing a household to accumulate vouchers over a couple years? For the case when they have nothing for a few years then have several items in a single year.

    BA asked 7 months ago

    In the proposed model, residents could use their two free curbside bulky item pickups per year for collection of electronics.   Residents could also bring electronics to a drop-off event where they would be collected for a fee.  The cost for collection of electronics would likely be subsidized through an annual recycling grant the City receives from Hennepin County each year, to keep the cost more affordable for residents. 

    Vouchers could not be carried forward if unused.  To deliver the program on a citywide scale, the City will negotiate a fee for the voucher program with the haulers.  The scope of service will likely be structured so haulers are paid a certain amount per year to provide the pickups, or a certain amount per item picked up.  If vouchers are carried over into additional years, this may present challenges with budgeting, and challenges for haulers to plan routes and time accordingly.

  • Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    Why is this happening in Holy Saturday? I think it is very thoughtless and disrespectful

    Jean asked 7 months ago

    Thank you for your input.  We understand the timing of Curbside Cleanup this year was difficult due to the Easter holiday.  

    In the proposed changes the City is considering, a resident could schedule pickups for two bulky items anytime throughout the year at a time that works best for them, plus one or two community drop-off events where residents could bring additional materials from disposal, recycling and reuse.  We will work to plan the community drop-off events based on feedback from residents on the best time of year, avoiding the first couple weeks of April due to weather and holidays. 

  • Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    So I just read you prose we pay a few on our trash pickup bill for the vouchers, but then charge anyone that uses the drop off. This sounds like the perfect way for city of Blmgt. To gauge us again, just like happened with the trash takeover. We all know it will end up costly us MORE, not less of course.

    Noni asked 6 months ago

    As indicated in other responses to similar questions, the vouchers for disposal of bulky items throughout the year would only be available for households with City garbage and recycling service, and would be paid for by all those households, similar to how the Curbside Cleanup fee is charged on Utility Bills today.  We estimate that the voucher program will cost less overall and those cost savings would be passed along to residents.

    At this time, we are still exploring the best way to charge all users for the Community Drop-Offs.  In other communities with similar events, often residents who bring materials to the drop-off are charged directly at the event, depending on what they bring.  Certain items are collected at no cost, and certain items that are more costly to handle, like electronics, will include a small charge.  That way, the cost of the Community Drop-Off event is covered by all users, and not just those with City garbage and recycling service.  Typically, communities subsidize some of the costs of these events to keep the charges relatively low so people are incentivized to use the events.  The City receives a recycling grant from Hennepin County each year and may consider using part of that grant funding to cover the costs of collecting certain items for recycling at the event.  

Page last updated: 02 September 2021, 10:45