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Minneapolis’ new One Sort recycling program beginning Phase 2

Minneapolis Public Works crews will begin Phase 2 of the city’s new recycling program next Monday, rolling out 80,000 of the blue One Sort carts.

By early June, every household in the city will be on the system, which allows people to recycle without having to separate paper from glass from plastic from metal cans.

Last fall, the first 30,000 of the 95-gallon One Sort carts were distributed. During the program’s first six weeks of collections, recycled material increased by 63 percent, or nearly 400 tons.

“A lot more people are recycling,” said Michelle Chavez, One Sort project coordinator for Public Works. “We are thinking it’s due to the ease of the program. People don’t have to think as much.”

The 63 percent increase could move Minneapolis out of the category of cities embarrassed by how little their residents recycle.

Last fall, when the One Sort program was announced, only 18 percent of the city’s households recycled. In contrast, 46 percent of St. Paul households recycled.

Under the old system, homeowners sorted cans and bottles, and each category needed a separate paper bag. It all got hauled to the curb in small city-supplied bins and was picked up by a truck equipped with a separate bin for each category.

One Sort takes more categories of recycling, which also could contribute to the increased tonnage.

In the old system, only plastic containers numbered 1 and 2 were accepted. Now plastic containers numbered through 7 can be tossed in the bin. Also new are paper cartons for milk, soup, juice and wine.

Before the new blue carts are dropped off, residents will receive instruction materials -- and a refrigerator magnet with key information.

To find out when your neighborhood is scheduled to receive the new One Sort carts, check out the city’s website here.

The old collection trucks, with a bin for every category of recycling, are being retrofitted and should all be ready to roll by June.

Switching to One Sort will cost nearly $9 million, with most of that ($6.8 billion) spent on 110,000 city-owned recycling carts. The budget also includes the truck retrofits.

Residents can keep their old plastic recycling bins if they want them.

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Comments (1)

And for the large percentage of rental properties?

Still nothing is being done by the City to increase recycling in rental buildings. I believe City-run collection only applies to single-family homes, and multi-family up to 4 units. Anything over 4 units (and commercial property presumably) is handled by a private trash hauler. Please correct me if any of this is wrong.

It has been my experience that the City and/or County are not at all paying attention to garbage collection and recycling participation at rental properties. Are newer immigrant communities aware of recycling options? I'd wager that recycling was not a priority in their various countries of origin. My current landlord (of a 16-unit building, majority hispanic residents) did not even offer a recycling bin until I threatened to report them to the City, as it is required by ordinance. Obviously you cannot force people to recycle, but you are required to give them the opportunity to do so. Is there any enforcement of this policy? What about education outreach for landlords and renters alike?

My parents started me on recycling very young, and it stuck. The City needs to do something soon to make sure the next generation of adults are taught to recycle at an impressionable age.