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New Recycling Program Launches Next Week

Delivery of new single-sort receptacles begins at 10 a.m. ceremony.

After months of waiting, Southwest Minneapolis residents are poised to finally get a simpler recycling system.

Thursday morning, Mayor RT Rybak and City Councilmember Sandy Colvin Roy will present the first batch of 9,000 new wheeled recycling bins slated for delivery to city residents between Nov. 12 and Dec. 1. A second phase of distribution will bring the blue carts to the rest of the city's 110,000 recycling customers in the spring. 

The city has produced an interactive map showing when each block will get its blue carts.

“By making it easier to recycle, we expect to collect more recycling and less trash from folks who don’t recycle yet or who don’t recycle as much as they could,” Mayor R.T. Rybak said in a written statement issued after the unveiling. “Our crews are picking up and recycling about 18,000 tons of materials every year, and we want to double that by 2015.”

“Recycling has never been this easy,” Council Member Sandy Colvin Roy added. “One-sort recycling is so easy, it just doesn't make sense NOT to do it. All the recyclable stuff simply goes into one big blue cart. For anyone who doesn't recycle, this is the perfect time to start.”

With the new bins will go a new recycling system intended to reduce waste, recruit more recyclers, and simplify the recycling system. Called "single-sort" recycling, it will allow residents to put all recyclables into one collection bin. The city currently has a complicated system that some say dissuades people from recycling. 

Not everyone is a fan of single-sort sytsems, though. Perversely, single-sort sometimes leads to more recyclable stuff getting thrown out, said Felicity Britton of Linden Hills Power and Light, a local non-profit working for citywide dual-sort recycling and composting. Broken glass, she said, can contaminate paper, and more non-recyclable 

"While I see a big volume increase by going to single-sort, I am concerned about a big volume increase in material that can't be recycled," she told Patch in an email in May when the city ok'd the new system. "Hopefully that won't be the case—maybe the (recycling centers) are much better at sorting and the residual levels will be low. I'll cross my fingers!"

A part of that will depend on recyclers themselves. In a written statement emailed to Patch, city spokesperson Matt Lindstrom urged residents to use care. 

"Proper recycling will keep the materials valuable; it is important to rinse recyclables and not to mix in garbage or other materials such as yard waste," he wrote.

Recipients of the first tranche of big blue bins will recieve instructions in the mail on how to properly recycle, he added.

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