Minneapolis tests ‘one-sort’ recycling

Recycling is about to get easier for residents of two Minneapolis neighborhoods.

The city has selected about 1,030 households in the Willard-Hay and East Calhoun neighborhoods for a recycling pilot program. The test group will put all of their recyclables in one cart, instead of sorting them into separate bags.

City officials will study the results — the amount of recyclables, the profits from sales, and the program’s costs — to see how they stack up against the city’s current recycling program. Another test project, based in the Seward neighborhood, has residents sort recycling into two piles, one for paper products and the other for everything else.

Here’s how the city sorts recyclables now:

recycling truck.jpg

In other words, recycling in Minneapolis might not require a Mensa-level I.Q., but it’s not exactly easy, either.

Plastic bottles, glass bottles, metal cans need to be sorted into separate paper bags. Newspapers need to be placed in a different bag or tied into a bundle “with string or twine,” not to exceed 20 pounds, according to the city’s website. And that’s not all. Throw away all caps or lids from cans or bottles. Don’t forget to put phone books and corrugated cardboard in paper bags. And make sure to remove all plastic from any dry food boxes or office paper.

The city’s website explains why:

Sorted recycling generates the biggest revenue … If the City of Minneapolis used single-stream recycling (all recycling in one bin, as some areas do), the higher cost of processing these materials would result in lower revenue, and possible cuts in other waste services.

The City Council will review the results from the pilot program “for consideration in future recycling operations,” the city said in a statement released on Monday.

(Recycling truck photo courtesy of the city of Minneapolis website)