Single-sort recycling coming to Minneapolis

Categories: Environment
singlesort_recycle_bin.jpg
Recycling in Mpls is about to get easier.
Sick of sorting your recyclables into more categories than you can keep straight? 'Paper, plastic, glass, coarse, smooth.... ah, forgot it, it's going in the trash!'

Those frustrations will soon be in the past, as today the Minneapolis City Council approved the introduction of single-sort recycling. Single-sort could be implemented as soon as next year.

By making recycling easier, the city hopes to increase the percentage of people who do it. Right now, about 20 percent of Minneapolitans recycle, compared to 30 percent of St. Paul residents. The Minneapolis rate has held steady for about the last decade, but Hennepin County wants the city to get it up to 35 percent by 2020.

Single-sort is easier for residents, collectors, and processors, but moving to a single-sort system involves some significant up-front costs. New single-sort compatible trucks are at least $150,000 each, and new recycling cars for residents will set the city back a minimum of $6.8 million, according to consultants from the Michigan-based Recycling Resources System.

But RRS concluded that long-term, single-sort will decrease costs while increasing recycling rates. The city expects the switch to ultimately save taxpayers about $180,000 a year.

Council's approval of single-sort on the same day it gave final approval to a funding package for the new Vikings stadium elicited some wry reactions from the local cyber intelligentsia on Twitter. Twin Cities media journalist David Brauer, astutely observering the increased press presence at today's council meeting, wrote:Meanwhile, the Downtown Journal's Nick Halter noted that until next year, at least, Minneapolis residents will continue to have to sort their recyclables into the familiar-but-discouraging nine categories:Considering all he has to celebrate this weekend Rybak, a staunch supporter of both the Vikings stadium and single-sort recycling, will probably have plenty of empty beers to recycle on Tuesday.

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11 comments
Walleyerae65
Walleyerae65

Right now, if you set a bag of sorted out aluminum cans by the curb, they are taken by vagrants with in 1 hour.  Maybe having all recyclables mixed together, it will discourage them from digging. 

Mike W.
Mike W.

I am amazed at the low percentage of recycling in both cities.  But here is a larger issue - compare the volume of recyclables being tossed by residences, they by businesses.  How many glass bottles or aluminum cans does one bar generate in one weekend?  Are they being made to recycle?  Are their incentives?  Raising the bar on residences by ten percent means little if the major producers of waste are not also participating.

Mark Snyder
Mark Snyder

Everything that can be recycled will be, as required by state law. However, there can be higher contamination rates with single-sort. Please use care to make sure you're not breaking glass bottles, for example.

Carlos Millantros
Carlos Millantros

Jobs! We can hire folks to sift through all of the goodies us Americans love to dump in receptacles! People will where masks and we can sell a lot of rubber gloves!

Brendab62
Brendab62

I'm concerned about where it goes after it leaves the single sort truck. Is it all really getting recycled?  Are we really doing a good thing or is it just saving money, time and making us feel better?

JustAGuy
JustAGuy

These "vagrants" take them to be recycled, so what do you care? You still get your recycling credit on your bill. 

Walleyerae65
Walleyerae65

I just hope they don't dig and leave a bigger mess!!

webcelt
webcelt

 It's not just the sorting requirement. When I lived in an apartment, my landlord told me landlords have to pay for recycling pickup, and of course none of them would. I've never heard that that's changed. The large number of multi-unit buildings explains low recycling rates. Many city residents literally don't have the option.

Mike W.
Mike W.

 *then by businesses

Forwardpride
Forwardpride

They take the (nicely sorted) aluminum cans and dump everything else all over the street, so I have to put things out at 6:30 in the morning and listen for that telltale sound.  (No, the cops won't do anything)  I'm not sure if mixed recycling will make that better or worse...

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