City collects 894 more tons of recycling in first full month of citywide one sort
Minneapolis residents have dramatically increased the amount they recycle, now that one-sort recycling has rolled out across the city. July, the City of Minneapolis’ first full month of all residents having their one-sort carts, had a 57.75 percent increase in recycling collected over July a year ago, when they still used the older multi-sort process. That’s 894 more tons of waste that was recycled instead of thrown into the trash. The increase brings the city’s overall residential recycling rate up to 24.4 percent, compared to 16.4 percent before one-sort started. The City hopes to double the 2012 recycling rate by 2015 by making it easier to recycle.
One-sort recycling, where customers combine their glass, plastic, paper, aluminum and cardboard into one container when putting them out for collection, began in fall 2012 for 30,000 Minneapolis residential recycling customers. All 105,000 Minneapolis residential recycling customers had their one-sort carts by June 11 this year.
The change makes recycling a lot easier and more convenient for residents. One sort removes the need to sort recyclables and it means residents no longer need to flatten, bundle and tie cardboard with twine. The new one-sort carts provide residents with more space to collect more recycling and can be easily rolled to the curb, unlike the old multi-sort bins.
Know what not to put in your recycling
As folks get used to using one-sort recycling, crews have been finding some non-recyclable materials in the one-sort carts, so it’s important to remember a few key things that shouldn’t go into the one-sort cart. Do not include:
Plastic bags. Plastic bags get wound around the gears at the sorting facility and require the machinery to be shut down for several hours each day to cut the bags off the gears. Residents can bring their plastic bags to a participating grocery store for recycling.
Expanded polystyrene foam (such as food-service polystyrene or packing bricks that come around furniture and electronics).
Needles and syringes (sharps). These are not recyclable and pose a health risk to collection crews and sorting facility staff. Residents should place household sharps in a hard plastic container with a tight sealing lid, such as a laundry detergent bottle, and write “SHARPS – DO NOT RECYCLE” on the bottle. When almost full, the bottle should be taped shut and placed in the garbage cart. Residents can also contact their doctor’s office or pharmacy for other disposal options.
Also, it is important to rinse recyclables.
Residents are encouraged to keep an eye out for things they could be recycling with their new, large one-sort carts. Paper products still make up approximately 20 percent of the average Minnesotan’s garbage; residents could make sure they are recycling all recyclable items including paper towel and toilet paper cores and boxes and bottles from bathroom or laundry products. Cartons of all kinds (milk, soup, juice, wine) can also be placed in the one-sort cart.
By recycling more and reducing garbage, residents can also save money each month by reducing the size of their garbage cart. Residents can request a smaller garbage cart by calling Solid Waste & Recycling at 612-673-2917.
Making products from recycled material rather than virgin material conserves natural resources and creates less waste. It also causes less pollution and uses less energy; for instance, 95 percent less energy is used to make a can from recycled aluminum than from raw materials.
Learn more about one-sort recycling in Minneapolis.
Published Aug. 22, 2013