Recycling in your city

The facts about recycling in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

From a metropolitan namesake to an international airport, Minneapolis and St. Paul share many things.

But the Twin Cities don’t recycle together. Both allow residents to recycle certain materials, but their programs are funded separately and work differently.

Here’s a look at the two:

St. Paul

-Pickup occurs once a week .

-All recycling is picked up, processed and marketed by Eureka Recycling, a Twin-Cities-based nonprofit organization.

-Recycling fees are included in all residents’ property taxes, and Eureka spokeswoman Dianna Kennedy said it comes out to $2 a month.

Part of the money made from the sale of recycled material is returned to the city.

-St. Paul residents must separate their recycling into two separate categories. Glass bottles, plastic bottles, cans, milk cartons and juice boxes go into one bin. Newspapers, magazines, office paper and cardboard go into another.

Kennedy said this system allows Eureka to strike a balance between cost effectiveness, environmental benefits and resident participation.

-Residents must pay when they dispose of large items, which won’t be picked up curbside. They should bring them to transfer stations, which accept furniture and most electronics. Then they bring them to a landfill, incinerator or another recycling business.

-Cell phones are not accepted by Eureka, but they are recycled when dropped off at any St. Paul public library or at the visitor’s center at Como Park Zoo and Conservatory . Money made from the recycled phones is donated to the Orangutan Conservancy, which helps protect and reintroduce orangutans to the wild.

Reusable clothing and linens are included in pickup recycling, but Eureka does not recycle batteries.

-Lisa McGann , a resident of St. Paul’s Summit neighborhood, said she’s never had problems with the city’s recycling program.

However, she said it would be nice to put all recycling into one bin, as is the case in some suburbs.

“[Sorting] makes it less easy,” McGann said. “But frankly I don’t mind sorting if it makes the end product more usable.”


-Pickup occurs every other week.

-All recycled materials are processed and marketed by BFI Waste Services, a private company . City crews pick up recycling in half of Minneapolis, but a consortium of private collectors picks it up in the other half .

-The base fee for all solid waste management is $23 per month. Although recycling is included, $7 is credited to your utility bill if you recycle.

Part of the money made from the sale of recycled material is returned to the city .

-Minneapolis residents must separate their recycling into nine categories.

Paper bags are required to separate cans, glass bottles and jars, plastic bottles, magazines and dry food boxboard. You can bundle newspaper and corrugated cardboard with twine.

Batteries should be placed in clear plastic bags.

City of Minneapolis spokesman Matt Laible said the city saves money by requiring residents to sort.

-Two large metal items, such as computers, can be placed outside for pickup. Two other large burnable items, such as furniture, may be placed outside weekly.

Each household gets six vouchers to drop off extra garbage and appliances at the South Transfer Station northwest of Hiawatha Avenue and Lake Street.

The cost of the vouchers and large item pickup is included in the base solid waste management fee.

-Cell phones are not accepted by Minneapolis Solid Waste & Recycling or at the South Transfer Station .

Household batteries are picked up with normal curbside recycling, but the city doesn’t accept clothing and linens.

-Jared Feest , a recent University graduate, said recycling in Minneapolis has been discouraging.

Feest, who lives in Southeast Como, said it’s “nearly impossible” to fit five bags of sorted recycling into the one bin he shares with three other people.

The city’s Web site says extra recycling can be placed in paper bags next to the bin.

“If they minimize the amount of sorting that has to be done by the homeowners, then it’d be a lot easier to recycle,” he said.

*The University of Minnesota has its own separate recycling program.

Source: City of Minneapolis, the Division of Solid Waste and Recycling

Source: Eureka Recycling