Last year, the city of Minneapolis introduced a new curbside trash pickup program in certain neighborhoods in order to pilot a new single-stream recycling service. Residents along the new collection routes were given 95 gallon bins to fill with any recyclable materials they were tossing out without having to separate them into plastics or glass. New garbage trucks were also introduced that could accept the mixed recyclables, as well as gather regular trash more efficiently.
Over the next few months, the city saw a 60% increase in the rate of recycling in those neighborhoods. Officials attribute the huge rise in recycling to the fact that residents no longer have to take the additional step of sorting their waste before having it picked up. The numbers look so good to city officials that they are now planning on rolling out single-stream recycling for the entire city.
This is good news for Minneapolis’ residents and businesses, who in recent years have only recycled as much as 18% of their waste. With the new single-stream recycling system, the city’s recycling rate should see significant improvements. By allowing customers to dump all of their recyclables into just one waste container, they save them from the hassle of sorting everything into either paper, plastics, glass or aluminum bins. Currently, roughly 30% of the city’s residents are covered by the new single-stream recycling service. Total coverage is expected to be achieved by the end of April, coinciding with the observance of Earth Day.
Other cities have adopted their own single-stream recycling programs with great results. Many of them have seen immediate improvements in their recycling rates, with percentage increases of 30% or more. As more and more cities adopt similar waste disposal practices, the amount of garbage sent to landfills can only decrease. Newer recycling methods, coupled with other landfill diversion tactics, can help reverse the rising rate of garbage production in the United States, as well as other countries.
In the meantime, the residents of Minneapolis will be able to take advantage of a modern recycling program that makes it incredibly easy to reuse a large amount of waste. Who knows, you could be seeing similar services in your city very soon!