Minneapolis to Switch to Single-Sort Recycling
For many businesses and individuals, recycling is already second nature—but being green is about to become a little easier for residents of Minneapolis.
The Minneapolis City Council and Mayor R.T. Rybak on Friday approved a plan to move to a single-sort recycling system for the city.
Single-sort recycling is a system through which customers put all recyclables into one container rather than separating items like glass, plastic, aluminum, and paper. The new system will debut sometime in 2013.
The city now operates a biweekly, multi-sort collection system that requires residents to place all items in separate paper bags in their recycling bins.
The city predicts that a switch from multi-sort to single-sort recycling will increase materials recovered by 60 percent and boost the Minneapolis recycling rate from 18.1 percent to 32 percent. According to a 47-page, city-commissioned report that compared single-sort and dual-sort (separating paper from all other recyclables), the city’s collection-operating costs will drop 1.7 percent with the switch.
The city’s Transportation and Public Works subcommittee previously approved the new system and then recommended it to the full council.
In November, the Minneapolis City Council directed the city’s Department of Public Works to recommend a new recycling program that balanced cost-effectiveness, convenience for customers, and environmental impact.
In its written recommendation for a single-sort system, the Public Works Department said that the city has a “fairly good participation rate” for its recycling program, but the amount of material recycled by residents is “far below the regional and national average.”
Minneapolis had good reason to examine its recycling practices. The State of Minnesota recently established new recovery goals for Hennepin County that call for a 45 percent recycling rate by 2015 and 47 percent by 2020. Meanwhile, Hennepin County has set a 35 percent recycling rate goal for the City of Minneapolis.
Before the City Council voted to adopt a new system, Minneapolis conducted two pilot programs to test the effectiveness of single-sort collection and dual-sort collection.
The city said that the single-sort system would work well if the city were to expand recycling to include multi-unit housing and/or add organics recycling later on.