Rethinking Recycling At Fast Horse

November 26, 2013

one-sortLast week, an email went out from a few concerned employees about our lazy recycling efforts at Fast Horse. Inspired by her sister, who only gets her garbage picked up a few times a year as a result of her impressive recycling, Joanne took things into her own hands.

All it took were a few simple steps to turn around the efforts at Fast Horse. First, we took the tops off the recycling bins, which just had holes the size of pop cans or bottles, as a visual cue for all that can be recycled. Our recycling rate for beverage containers is great, but not so great for anything else.

Next, the “What to Recycle” sheet from the city was posted above the recycling bins to educate everyone on the wide range of items that are accepted.

Lastly, a rallying call in the form of an all-staff email from Joanne kicked out butts in gear.

While waiting for my soup to heat up in the kitchen last week, I took a moment to read the sign and was surprised and embarrassed in the process. I mean, how did I not know that yogurt cups and soup broth boxes could be recycled? Or liquid detergent bottles, or tin foil? I’m a city kid, a millennial and I even buy natural household cleaning products!

But after some research, I found that these items were added to the list of what Minneapolis recycles just last year. PHEW. Other recently added items include pudding cups, takeout containers, juice boxes and disposable cups and bowls.

Image c/o Minnesota's RecyclingRefund.org

Image c/o Minnesota’s RecyclingRefund.org

But I’m not the only one in our fine city that’s uninformed.  The bottom line is that recycling rates in Minneapolis aren’t great. At the start of this year, household recycling rates were hovering around 20 percent in Minneapolis – lower than other large cities like Rochester (26 percent) and St. Cloud (30 percent).

You could try to blame low recycling numbers on all the new additions to the recycling list. But that won’t work either. I consider recycling plastic beverage bottles and pop cans the most basic form of recycling around, but Minnesotans recycle just 40 percent of their aluminum cans.  For being a progressive state, we’re seriously behind the national average of 65 percent.

There is hope on the horizon, however. The new one-sort recycling program in Minneapolis is in full effect, making recycling easier than ever. In the first six weeks of the rollout, the 31,500 customers who had switched recycled 63 percent more than they had a year earlier when they had to sort their items. This is sure to help Minneapolis get closer to its goal of doubling recyclables collected from 18,000 tons to 36,000 tons per year by 2015.

We here at Fast Horse are doing our part to change our ways, both in the office and at home, and urge you to do the same. It’s not Earth Day, nor is it America Recycles Day, but it’s Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013, and it’s time to get serious about recycling.

Here’s the list that we have posted around Fast Horse. Print it out for your home or office today! http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/www/groups/public/@publicworks/documents/webcontent/wcms1p-113563.pdf