Rain barrels and compost bins will likely become a much more common sight in Red Wing this spring. 

During the Monday, March 14, Red Wing City Council meeting, public works staff presented the proposal to purchase rain barrels and compost bins for the city.  

Kelsey Van Deusen from Red Wing’s storm water department explained that if approved, the city would purchase 50 rain barrels and 50 compost bins. The city would then host a sale on those items on Saturday, April 23. 

By purchasing the barrels and bins, the city would subsidize some of the cost, saving residents $40 on rain barrels and $26 on compost bins (they would cost residents $50 individually or $100 for both). 

The implementation of the rain barrels was described by Van Deusen as a “kick-off to what we’re looking at for a stormwater fee credit. We’re thinking about offering that $50 credit for a rain barrel or rain garden. And it’s a great way to pilot this and offer some more sustainable opportunities for residents throughout the city.”

The city has been discussing the possibility of implementing composting as part of its solid waste management.

Jeff Schneider is the deputy director of solid waste. He told the council, “We did just receive a $140,000 grant from the MPCA (Minnesota Pollution Control Agency) to help supplement… the funding that we already put forward to looking at organics. And I think that this is a great opportunity for us to get this out there.”

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency says of using rain barrels, “Harvesting and reusing rainwater decreases the impact of stormwater runoff to our lakes and streams; it protects the environment and minimizes localized flooding and erosion. It has additional benefits in urban areas, including, but not limited to, an increase in soil moisture levels for urban greenery. In addition, it can be used to meet regulatory requirements for stormwater volume control and water quality.”

Rain barrels can save residents money as they do not use as much tap water for gardens and lawns. 

Composting has a variety of benefits, including healthy gardens and plants. 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says of composting, “Food scraps and yard waste together currently make up more than 30% of what we throw away, and could be composted instead. Making compost keeps these materials out of landfills where they take up space and release methane, a potent greenhouse gas.”

The rain barrel that the city is considering can hold up to 45 gallons. The composted bin can hold up to 125 gallons. Both are made of 100% recycled plastic materials. 

The City Council will vote on this item at a future meeting. 

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