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Mpls Expects Savings, Increased Ease With Single-Sort Recycling

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(credit: CBS) Frank Vascellaro
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Minneapolis city committee voted unanimously to kick its current recycling program to the curb.

Currently, Minneapolis won’t take your recycling unless the cans, glass, plastic and newspapers are separated. But a pilot program last year tried out single sorting, and now, the city said that’s the way to go.

Once a week, Jim Crepps hauls multiple recycling bins to the back alley of his south Minneapolis home. Separating the glass from newspapers and bottles is a routine his family has gotten used to.

“If you do the dishes after you make the meal, it doesn’t sit around,” he said. “So you just kind of get used to it.”

But for countless others in his neighborhood, organizing the recycling is a nuisance.

“My neighbor, John, he does his all on Sunday,” Crepps said. “He cuts up all the cardboard, and gets his cans, and sets it all out.”

The time-consuming sorting kept many away from doing it. A consulting firm found that fewer than 20 percent of households in Minneapolis recycle, compared to 30 percent in St. Paul, where multiple sorting is also used.

Tuesday’s decision by the Transportation and Public Works Committee to switch to single sorting will save neighbors the weekly hassle, and money. Minneapolis hopes to recycle 35 percent of waste in the city by 2015.

More recycling also means more revenue for the city, as it sells the recycled material to keep costs down. The city said when people recycle more, their garbage will decrease, so the average household’s bill for waste and recycling shouldn’t change.

The program is one that many neighbors are rallying around.

“We recycle anything we can,” Sarah Thompson said. “But it sounds like it’d be helpful (for those) who aren’t as diligent in their recycling, to get them to actually get it done, because there’s less work involved.”

Overall, the new system should save the city nearly $180,000 a year. Minneapolis hopes to get the program in place sometime early next year.

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