One-sort boosts recycling rates

Early results indicate the switch from multi-sort recycling has encouraged some households to recycle more

One-sort recycling bins, already used by one-third of the city, will roll out to more households beginning in April. Credit: File photo

No longer required to sort their recyclables into separate bags, residents on four of the city’s collection routes recycled more in December and January.

The city reported recycling rates increased 63 percent on those four routes compared to the same period one year ago. The difference: This fall, homes along those routes were among the first to switch to one-sort recycling from the multi-sort system still in place across much of the city, which requires residents to sort recyclables into separate bags of glass, metal, plastics and paper.

The data reported by the city in a press release covered six weeks between early December and mid-January after about 30,000 residential recycling customers, or roughly one-third of the city, made the switch to one-sort recycling. The increase in recycling rates meant an additional 396 tons of recyclables were collected on those four routes.

Another factor may be in play. The city also expanded the types of plastic and paper it collects just last year, so that residents no longer have to toss items like empty yogurt containers or milk cartons in the trash.

The rest of the city — about 80,000 households — is scheduled to switch to one-sort recycling this spring and summer. There is no additional charge to residents for one-sort recycling.

Ultimately, the city aims to double recycling rates by 2015. For more information on one-sort recycling, go to

The data on one-sort recycling were included in the latest Results Minneapolis report, available here.