As Sioux Falls navigates its new sustainability plan, it is crucial to focus on practical solutions that can make a real impact on our environment. A recent study highlighted in an article titled “Curbside recycling turns out to be a surprisingly good climate investment” provides valuable insights that emphasize the importance of recycling.
Recycling Decline in Sioux Falls
The Sioux Falls recycling rate has been declining in recent years, consistently dropping year-over-year from 23.4% in 2018, down to just 18.7% in 2022. We are actively working with the city to identify the reasons behind this decline, considering factors such as the growth of multi-housing in our community, changing material streams, a slowing economy, and other issues related to lower recycling participation. Despite these challenges, increasing our recycling efforts remains a key opportunity for positive change. Alongside the more complex and difficult-to-implement measures to combat climate change, increasing our recycling efforts presents an easy and effective opportunity to make a difference.
The Value of Recycling
Contrary to popular belief, recycling programs are not overly expensive. While it is true that collecting and sorting recyclables can be costly, the overall expense is relatively modest. Even during periods of low market values between 2018 and 2020, the cost ranged from $2.83 to $3.50 per household monthly — that’s cheaper than your favorite coffee shop drink. These figures demonstrate that recycling is a feasible and affordable option for our community, particularly when compared to more challenging and expensive climate-change initiatives.
Environmental Benefits of Recycling
Recycling programs offer significant environmental advantages, especially in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The study found that curbside recycling offsets the emissions generated by decomposing garbage in landfills, which are the third-largest source of methane emissions globally, making it a crucial climate action strategy. Compared to systems that solely collect garbage, waste management systems with curbside recycling experience six times lower greenhouse gas emissions. This means that by recycling, we can make a tangible contribution to combating climate change.
Optimizing Recycling Efforts
The study suggests ways to improve recycling programs and make them more cost-effective without compromising their climate benefits. By streamlining the materials we recycle, we can improve sorting efficiency and ensure a higher percentage of collected materials actually get recycled. At Millennium in Sioux Falls, we simplify our accepted list to make the process as streamlined and as easy-to-follow as we can. You can find the guide here to learn what you can include in your mixed recycling bin. Additionally, the study suggests exploring options like extended producer responsibility, where manufacturers are responsible for recycling costs, and mandating a certain amount of recycled material in packaging, to further lower expenses and stabilize our recycling programs.
Unleashing the Power of Recycling in Sioux Falls
By prioritizing recycling, Sioux Falls can achieve meaningful progress. The study proves that recycling is an affordable and impactful way to address climate change. It dispels the notion that recycling programs are too costly and reveals their substantial environmental benefits. By optimizing our recycling efforts and focusing on valuable recyclables, we can make a significant contribution to reducing our carbon footprint.
Let’s seize the opportunity to prioritize recycling as a practical and effective step towards conserving the future for Sioux Falls!