Re-sort, rebag, recycle… let’s rethink

Single-stream recycling could push Minneapolitans to actually recycle.

Tobias Harrison-Noonan

It has come to my attention that the recycling program in Minneapolis is not optimal. We are currently required to sort all of our recycling into separate paper bags. There are nine different types of recycling that they ask us to sort, all into different bags. Recently many cities have been upgrading to a newer system known as âÄúsingle-streamâÄù recycling. In this new system, each resident is given one large (trash-sized) recycling bin into which all forms of recycling can be deposited. Some may argue that this new system is more expensive and not necessary because the residents can sort it themselves. The truth is that using just one collection bin for all your recyclables increases the ease and convenience of recycling so that more people participate and more resources are saved. Speaking from personal experience, there are many residents who wish to participate in the recycling program but often find the task of separating different types just enough work to discourage them. While this is clearly not ideal, it is the truth about many Minneapolis residents. While the single-stream system would increase the cost by a small margin, the increase in use of the program would outweigh this. Single-stream also offers more efficient collections for the haulers who normally have to deal with many different recycling types. This new system will also expand the types of plastics accepted by the recycling program. Residents will be more likely to recycle things they previously would have thrown away, such as junk paper, cardboard and other types of plastic. The single stream program has been implemented in many cities already and has been met with great success. Minneapolis needs to take this next step toward a greener city. Tobias Harrison-Noonan University undergraduate student