Garbage Has Been Increasing in Recycling Loads!

Community Recycling News

Garbage Has Been Increasing in Recycling Loads!

What’s the problem? We’ve been seeing a concerning trend with more trash and less recycling coming into Millennium from the Sioux Falls area. These numbers are consistent with what the City is seeing as well: In 2017, the MSW tonnage at the landfill was 181,795, and in 2021, tonnage was 211,669 (up 15%). In comparison, the recycling rate has decreased from 22.8% in 2017 to 20.5% in 2021 (down 2.3%).

Why is this important? Not only does recycling save dwindling landfill space and prevent pollution in our community, it also supports regional small businesses and supplies a domestic source of critical raw materials for American manufacturing, which strengthens our country’s economic security. According to ISRI, recycling supplies 40% on average across all commodities of the raw material needs in the US alone.

Why is this happening? Whether this decrease in recycling is due to a lack of education, a shortage in drivers being able to monitor loads, or people just not caring, we are concerned about the direction we’re headed. Other growing communities we work with are not seeing this same trend, and the pressure is on at the National level as well, with the EPA setting a goal of 50% recycling by 2030. We have asked the City of Sioux Falls to help us combat this negative trend and we’re hopeful we can get ahead of the problem before it’s too late.

What can we do? Over the next few months, we will be supporting the City as they work on a new landfill composition study and look into innovative ways to get recycling back on track. At Millennium, we are working on a new public education campaign internally as well as supporting efforts of the local waste-diversion focused nonprofit, Ecomaniacs.

In the meantime, we need your help:

  1. Educate yourself, your friends, your business, and your community on what goes in the bin. Order free guides and posters here.
  2. Only recycle the YES LIST. Commercial loads, multi-housing units, and mobile parks are a major source of contamination. Schedule a Waste Assessment for help!
  3. Share your ideas with us! If you have any recommendations on how to increase recycling and decrease contamination, we want to hear from you! Share your ideas with us here.