Single Stream Recycling
The Solid Waste and Recycling Division of Public Works has returned with their recommendation on the Minneapolis recycling program: we should move to a single sort system. You can read the executive summary here and a very interesting powerpoint here.
Some of the key findings:
- A single sort system will allow us to increase the amount of waste being recycled from our current, rather dismal 18% up to 32%. That's still not as high as I'd like it to be, but it's a major improvement. According to the study, a dual sort system would also increase waste diversion, but only to 25%.
- Processing for commingled recycling has gotten better, and processing costs are basically equal between single and dual sort.
- Staff are projecting that a single sort recycling program will cost the City 20% less to operate than the current multi-sort system, even taking the upfront costs for a new recycling cart for all Minneapolis residents into account, while increasing the amount of recyclable material we collect.
- The trend among similar cities is clearly moving towards a single-stream system.
- A single stream system is arguably more compatible with source-separated organics collection, because the two combined would only require three carts, not four.