What kind of recycling program would you be likely to use the most?

In an effort to improve its recycling rate, Minneapolis is moving toward a single-sort recycling program, meaning that residents could put all recyclables into a single container. Today’s Question: What kind of recycling program would you be likely to use the most?

  • Hiram

    A recycling program for bad ideas.

  • Stony River Dave

    In Stony River Township, I have to haul and sort my own recycling and trash. In Raleigh, NC we have single sort recycling. All of New Zealand has single sort recycling. I’d recycle regardless of the program.

  • Stephan

    Coming from Switzerland, i’m use to sorting all the recycling items so I would really use any systems. In Switzerland we also have collecting points everywhere so people can bring there recycling items at any point. For Minneapolis I think that if we would all have a big bin for recycling it would be a lot easier and people would recycle a lot more, so think it’s a good idea to move to a simplified process for the users, but it may increase the cost on the long run if people need to b hired to sort things out for us

  • luke van santen

    Single sort works pretty well in Minnetonka. Sorting wasn’t difficult either.

  • Craig

    There is a vast array of human talent in the households of the twin cities (scientists, surgeons, engineers). Requiring that talent to spend time sorting trash is wasteful and harmful to society.

  • Tom Anderson

    In my town we have gone to single-sort (from a two sort system). Every other Monday night on my way home from work at 11:00PM I see the carts lined up at the curb for most of my neighbors. It seems to be working well – and my bill went down this year, even better.

  • Gary F

    I’ll have to dig in closer on that report.

    But, the more you separate, the more money the city gets to sell the recycled products for. The less separated, the less money you get for the product.

    Sure, recycling more makes every one feel better, but how much is it costing us in getting less money for our products?

  • Jerome

    We should look into doing a can and bottle deposit like they do in Iowa and Michigan. Minnesotans currently only recycle 35 percent of these items. Iowa and Michigan o

    are over 90. Plus, unclaimed deposits would raise about $90 million a year for goverment. If we want to get serious about recycling, this is our best bet.

  • James

    From an end-user prespective, single sort rocks. It’s fast and easy. My only complaint is that in my suburb pickup is every other week and my bin isn’t large enough. I either need a bigger bin or weekly pickup.

  • david

    We recycle everything, including organics, but I’m ending the organics program this week. It’s just too gross and smelly, especially in the summer. More importantly we make decisions at the store to purchase the most recyclable and least wasteful packaged items in the first place. It’s not about feeling good as much as it’s about doing the right thing.

  • Jim G

    I think single-sort is the way to go. In fact, I’m surprised Minneapolis still has its multiple-sort system. The last city I lived in required a 3-way sort, and that was inconvenient and time consuming. Now when my bi-weekly recycling pick-up occurs I can quickly empty the indoor recycling containers/newspapers into the recycling cart. We routinely have more weight in recycling than regular waste. I also find the yard waste, organics cart handy because it requires no bag and is easy to move.

  • GregX

    IThe one I have available for neighborhood pickup. then, check my county (Ramsey) web-site for other options – like construction materials. I found a place that took all of my scrap demolition wood – because I took the nails out – for free. I take large metals (old storm doors, shelving units,) to Vasko on Como Ave – for free. I recycle clean packing materials ( foams, peanuts, plastic bubble wrap, boxes, ) at shipping/mailing/packing stores. There are other options. My goal is to eliminate the need to have trash pick up at all.

  • Regnar James

    I would like to see people on welfare separating the recycling to earn the tax money the working people give them.


  • Ann

    It is easier to get excited about recycling when you feel that people really care. It is difficult to feel that people care when cable companies send out advertising letters every week, year after year.Charities like American Lung Association send you tons of address labels.My town specifies that the only plastics they can accept are bottles, not Cool Whip containers or similar tubs. Guess what you see in the recycling containers….

  • Mary

    We have single stream recycling in our town. I love it. It is really easy to use. We don’t have to separate any thing and it all goes into a recycling garbage can. More people use it because it is so easy. The city sends us a recycling guide out once of year so we know exactly what can go into the recycling can. It really couldn’t be any easier to use.

  • Mark Snyder

    I’ve lived in Minneapolis since the current sorting system was introduced and I’ve never found it to be that challenging to sort my recyclables. I can understand how people with limited space or time might have trouble with sorting, but I wish that wouldn’t prevent them from recycling. Unfortunately, the dismal collection percentages suggest that it has, so I guess the move to single-sort is helpful in that regard.

    I do hope my fellow Minneapolis residents do take the time to learn how this system works and make an effort to minimize contamination of their recyclables so these materials can actually be recycled into new products. That’s been the biggest knock against single-sort since it was introduced.

  • Jessica

    I live in Minneapolis, and my parents live in Eagan. The change going from single sort in a large house to multi sort in a small apartment was strange. My room mates and I often have four or more paper bags filled with recyclables, while our trash rarely gets full every collection day. Life would be easier for us to put every recyclable in one bin, and if the city started a composting program our landfill waste would be a small fraction of what it is now.

  • G Decker

    I have taken several electronic items to a St. Paul recycler and paid the fee, but I suspect that many people don’t recycle electronics because of the cost and inconvenience. People try to recycle electronics with the garbage at my apartment building–and they are not all residents of my building!

    I wish we had a recycling fee that was added to the purchase of every electronic device–maybe a percentage of the weight of the device. If we prepaid for recycling, maybe we could then have curbside pick-up and more people would recycle their electronics responsibly.

  • Marty

    I want the Mr. Fusion Home Energy Reactor

  • Nora

    Studies of St Paul and other cities worldwide show a “wastage” rate of at least 25% with single sort recycling, from crushed glass and paper contaminated with beverage fluids or glass. What good is picking up more recyclables if it ends up in a landfill or incinerator because it is considered substandard by recycling industries? Suck it up and sort it!

  • Chris Pratt

    I understand the desire to move Minneapolis to single sort and the hope that it will increase participation, but I worry that it will lower the quality of the materials in the recycling stream. My concern is that people will include things that cannot be recycled.

    We already know that single stream takes the burden of sorting materials out of the hands of citizens and pushes to a paid staff at the firm receiving the items. The value of stream is decreased and the city receives less from the recycling firms. We may increase recycling participation but not decrease the volume going into the waste stream.

  • alex

    Single sort! Then we won’t need to consume paper grocery bags in order to recycle.

    When I moved to Minneapolis from Vermont almost two years ago, I was stunned that I had to get paper bags from the grocery store in order to recycle in Mpls. This makes no sense to me. One of the simplest ways to reduce our environmental footprint (and to preserve trees) is to get people to stop taking paper bags, and to use recyclable grocery bags instead. We need to do everything we can to encourage this as a society, not discourage it. It boggles my mind that I need to use paper bags in order to recycle my paper, glass & aluminum, and I just don’t understand why Mpls can’t do better! So, I say bring on single sort, ASAP!

  • Elizabeth T

    I really wish the recycling bins were BIGGER!! We live in a duplex, and both families recycle heavily. There are 5 boxes in the back alley now, and really we could use 7 (our recycling fluctuates a bit). It eats up the space back there that the kids play around, or temporary parking.

    The city switched to greatly expand the types of plastic it would accept – our plastic recycling is going to increase. If I could have one of the standard-sized containers used for garbage to use for just plastic recycling, it would be awesome.

    If we, Mpls, get more money from segregated recycling, we should go with it. It’s money as well as environment. it doesn’t take much effort – it takes space.

  • Charles

    If the single container method is effective that’s great. However I think it’s important to consider what we consume and dispose of and their qualities.

    for instance, Hemp Plastics are a better choice for us humans:

    Hemp Plastic Facts You Should Know

    Traditionally, plastics have been derived from petrochemicals, which are mainly toxic. Plants, on the other hand, are also a source of cellulose, that can be used to make biodegradable and organic plastic. As hemp happens to be one of the richest sources of cellulose, it is only natural that purists will advocate its use, considering its ecological benefits.

    The Features

    Hemp plastic is biodegradable and recyclable. If you thought being eco-friendly undermined its sturdiness, you couldn’t be more wrong. The stiffness level of hemp plastic can match up to regular plastic. Hemp plastic offers good thermal, UV and dimensional stability. It is resistant to heat; however, the most outstanding feature of a few varieties of hemp plastic is that they are flame resistant too. Finally, if Henry Ford could imagine creating a car with this material, we can perhaps believe that it indeed is “ten times stronger than steel”.

    The Utility

    It is a pity that with so many useful qualities, we don’t see hemp plastic being used in our everyday life, the way it ought to be. Hemp plastic can easily substitute the existing plastic in products like cell phone chargers, blenders, sockets, laptop covers, etc. Currently, hemp plastic is being used to manufacture audio, video, toys, automobile parts and packaging materials.

    The Specialty

    Hemp fiber is one of the strongest natural fibers known to us. As scientists keep looking for ways to address the ecological damage that conventional plastics have caused, here is a material that can be manufactured to be 100% biodegradable. Hemp plastic is known to be several times durable as compared to polypropylene plastic, and it comes without all the health and safety threats.

    The Irony

    What we have here is a product that is natural, does not pose a threat to the environment, does not require the use of petrochemicals or glass fibers and is derived from a plant that requires less maintenance. Are we trying to shut our eyes to the obvious solution for the mayhem caused by conventional plastics? Unfortunately, in the case of hemp plastic, it is the tree’s proximity to marijuana that caused its undoing. Recent times have thankfully started to witness a change in the outlook towards hemp, but we still have a long way to go.

    Plastics keep reminding us of the damage that we have done to our planet, all under the guise of convenience.

  • Mary Kay Jacobson

    I listened with interest at your recycling story yesterday. In Itasca County we have an outstanding recycling program run by a non-profit called Deer River Hired Hands (DRHH). Deer River Hired Hands employs approximately 50 developmentally disabled adults to sort and package recycling. One-sort recycling may get individuals to recycle more goods, but much of the one-sort is damaged (paper in particular) and ends up in landfills rather than being truly recycled. Last year in our sparsely populated county, DRHH recycled 4541.298 tons of recycling (86% of the total recycling in the county), including 6,978,666 plastic grocery bags. These developmentally disabled adults received minimum wage and they pay taxes and purchase goods within the county that helps the economy. More than that, they get great satisfaction out of working hard and accomplishing a great deal. Our county residents are proud of their efforts to recycle, and particularly moved by the work of DRHH. This is truly a model program which would be hurt if our county decides to have a one-sort option. I would be happy to send you some links about the case against one-sort so that you could have a more unbiased view about the process.

    Mary Kay Jacobson, Chair, Deer River Hired Hands Board

  • windsy

    I personally feel like the deposit law is the best incentive to get people to recycle their plastic bottles. id like to see it enacted in MN, and in other states.