A Burning Question

     "I have a burning permit, now is it ok for me to burn my garbage?"  This question is similar to one I often ask my children after I catch them hitting each other, "When is it ok to hit another person?"  They meekly reply, "Never."  Just like it is never "ok" to burn your garbage, even when you have a permit.

     A burning permit must be obtained by the Minnesota DNR if there is not  3 inches of snow on the ground.  This permit only allows for the burning of vegetative matter including leaves, grass and untreated wood; it has been illegal to burn garbage in Minnesota since 1969.  Burning garbage not only causes pollution to air, soil and water but can also cause serious health problems in humans.  According to the DNR burning garbage is the largest source of deadly dioxins in the United States and these can cause respiratory diseases as well as cancer.  It is also the cause of about 40% of wildfires in our state.    

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  Now that you know it is illegal and harmful to burn your garbage the question becomes,  "What do I do with all of this garbage?  Remember those three words, "Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.  You can reduce the amount of garbage you create by purchasing items in bulk and limiting the purchase of items with excess packaging.   You can reuse items such as grocery bags, trash liners, or by purchasing second hand items.  You can recycle many household items including glass, paper, aluminum and even food scraps in a compost pile.  There are many ways you can cut down on the amount of garbage you create and if everyone just did a little it would make a big difference.

      Please remember, burning garbage is harmful not only to the environment but also to your health.  You can find out more information about this burning question at this website