Simpler system boosts recycling in Minneapolis

Minneapolis residents are recycling 58 percent more garbage now that they don’t have to sort paper from cardboard and cans from bottles.

In June, the city finished rolling out its new “single-sort”system, which allows all recyclable items to go into the same receptacle.

The result: In July alone, the city saved an additional 894 tons of trash from the incinerator.

St. Paul is switching to a similar system next year, but it probably won’t see such a dramatic change. St. Paul’s current system has just two categories of recycling. Paper and cardboard go in one bin. Plastic, metal and glass go in the other.

The old Minneapolis system was far more complicated. It encouraged newspapers to be tied up with twine, and it required recyclables to be separated into a staggering seven different categories. Bonus points if you can name them all!

See this video by Jeffrey Thompson of MPR News to learn how single-sort recycling works.