Let's get real about recycling

Your actions matter. Learn how we’re doing at recycling, the impact it has on the environment and local jobs, and how we can do better.

How we're doing

We're doing good, but we can all do better.

In 2022, 19% of waste was recycled (measured by weight).

Unfortunately, over 60% of what Minneapolis customers threw in the trash could have been recycled or composted. These materials are worth at $2.8 million dollars. The biggest opportunities for improvement, based on the quantity and value of recyclables put in the garbage in 2022, are:

    • Aluminum cans – only 51% were recycled
    • Cardboard – only 53% was recycled 
    • Mixed paper – only 40% was recycled 

Learn more from our 2022 Waste Sort reports

The impact of not recycling

Wasting these valuable resources adds to the rising cost of everything we buy.

  • Aluminum cans are able to be recycled into new cans over and over. Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to power a TV or a computer for 3 hours. In Minneapolis, only around 50% of aluminum cans are recycled.
    • The lack of recycled aluminum has raised the price of aluminum. This has caused:

      • Companies to discontinue certain product lines
      • Higher prices for soda, water, and beer
  • Papers like cardboard and mixed paper can be recycled up to seven times. Recycling a one-foot tall stack of paper saves enough energy for you to take a hot shower daily for a week and produces as much paper as cutting down a 40-foot fir tree.
    • The lack of recycled paper has raised the price of paper. This has caused:
      • Publishers to print fewer copies of books and magazines
      • Manufacturers are producing fewer types and colors of paper resulting in printing and mailing delays

By recycling all of our aluminum cans, cardboard and mixed paper we would save energy, prevent pollution and create jobs.

  • Reduce emissions equivalent to taking 3,600 cars off the road each year.
  • Save enough energy to heat an additional 1,507 homes each year.
  • Provide enough full-time work for 84 people each year.

How can we do better?

There are easy things we can do to recycle better and recycle more.

  • Recycle all aluminum cans, cardboard, and mixed paper.
  • Make sure you’re putting the right items in your recycling cart.
  • When in doubt, find out. 

Tools to help you recycle right


What happens to my recycling?

bales of aluminum and cardboard


Residents do a pretty good job at putting the right items in their recycling cart, but national news stories make many people wonder: does my recycling actually get recycled?
We want to reassure you that all all items accepted for recycling in Minneapolis are made into new products.
After recycling is picked up from your house it is brought to Eureka Recycling where it is sorted into 15 different categories. From there, it's sold to companies to be made into new products.
  • 74% of recycling is made into new items right here in Minnesota.
  • 94% is made into new products in the upper Midwest.

Recycling creates local jobs

two employees collect recycling


Recycling in Minnesota supports more than 77,000 jobs.

  • Jobs include collection, sorting, transportation, manufacturing, and more.

Learn about working for Solid Waste & Recycling

Danny explains what it's like to work for Solid Waste & Recycling.

Hear how Marge likes working here too

Tools to help you recycle right

Learn more

Contact us

Solid Waste & Recycling





Eastside Maintenance Facility

2635 University Ave NE

Minneapolis, MN 55418

Office hours

8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Monday – Friday

This building is closed to the public.