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Single-sort recycling coming to Minneapolis

Sick of sorting your recyclables into more categories than you can keep straight? 'Paper, plastic, glass, coarse, smooth.... ah, forgot it, it's going in the trash!'

Those frustrations will soon be in the past, as today the Minneapolis City Council approved the introduction of single-sort recycling. Single-sort could be implemented as soon as next year.

By making recycling easier, the city hopes to increase the percentage of people who do it. Right now, about 20 percent of Minneapolitans recycle, compared to 30 percent of St. Paul residents. The Minneapolis rate has held steady for about the last decade, but Hennepin County wants the city to get it up to 35 percent by 2020.

Single-sort is easier for residents, collectors, and processors, but moving to a single-sort system involves some significant up-front costs. New single-sort compatible trucks are at least $150,000 each, and new recycling cars for residents will set the city back a minimum of $6.8 million, according to consultants from the Michigan-based Recycling Resources System.

But RRS concluded that long-term, single-sort will decrease costs while increasing recycling rates. The city expects the switch to ultimately save taxpayers about $180,000 a year.

Council's approval of single-sort on the same day it gave final approval to a funding package for the new Vikings stadium elicited some wry reactions from the local cyber intelligentsia on Twitter. Twin Cities media journalist David Brauer, astutely observering the increased press presence at today's council meeting, wrote:

Meanwhile, the Downtown Journal's Nick Halter noted that until next year, at least, Minneapolis residents will continue to have to sort their recyclables into the familiar-but-discouraging nine categories:

Considering all he has to celebrate this weekend Rybak, a staunch supporter of both the Vikings stadium and single-sort recycling, will probably have plenty of empty beers to recycle on Tuesday.


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