Mixed recycling


NOTE: Millennium accepts these materials, but each community we serve has unique programs. Verify your program details here.

Recycle all together, Loose in your cart

— Click each category for more details —

Paper, Cardboard & Cartons

Plastic Bottles, Tubs & Jugs

Metal Cans

Glass Bottles & Jars

Frequently Asked Questions

What is "Single Stream" Recycling?

Single Stream (aka Mixed recycling) is a simple way of collecting all recyclables—like paper, cardboard, plastic, glass, and metal—in one, single bin. Millennium invested in single stream equipment in 2007 to help streamline recycling for the Sioux Falls area and has grown to help other communities across the region.
It’s easy, efficient, and makes recycling more convenient for everyone.

What goes in the recycling bin?

All of the items shown above can go in your mixed recycling bin if it comes to Millennium. However, some haulers or communities may have different guidelines. Please find your community to see your specific guidelines.

We keep our accepted categories as simple as possible to make sure we avoid confusion and can recycle as much as we can. If you have a question that is not answered by these basic categories or your community guide, please contact us and we’ll get you an answer.

Why can't I bag my recyclables?

Keeping materials loose in the bin is standard for recycling programs across the country. The equipment needs recyclables loose to be able to identity and sort it out. Learn more here.

Why Shouldn't I Just Recycle Something If I'm Unsure?

When it comes to recycling, guessing isn’t the best approach. ‘Wish-cycling’ is when we hope an item can be recycled without following the guidelines. This can do more harm than good.

Our recycling process relies on specific criteria to ensure efficiency and success. We can only accept items that can be collected in large quantities, sorted by our advanced equipment, and have a market demand when recycled. If an item doesn’t meet these requirements, it can’t be accepted.

Our automated sorting system keeps everything running smoothly. However, if something damages the equipment, it can completely shut us down. Likewise, if there’s no demand for a certain item, it will end up in the landfill, which is costly and counterproductive. The key to avoiding this is to reduce consumption and choose products and packaging that are recyclable, compostable, or reusable.

What is the WORST thing I could put in the recycling bin?

Our equipment is only made for the “yes” items, so anything that is not in one of those categories must be removed manually by our team.

The worst things that end up in the recycling bin are things that can harm our team members. Things like large pieces of scrap metal or wood, pressurized tanks, or electronics, appliances, and batteries.

Batteries are a major concern in the recycling industry and should NEVER be put in your mixed recycling bin. If punctured or bent during transit or in the facility, they spark!

In 2022, fires in waste and recycling reached an all-time high, with a majority attributed to battery-related incidents

What to do with items that can't go in the bin?

Your mixed recycling bin is just one piece of the larger waste diversion puzzle. In addition to single stream items, there’s a wide range of items that require special handling. From yard waste and food scraps to scrap metal, wood and electronics — there are numerous businesses and programs available to help you responsibly dispose of these items.

Unfortunately, they can’t all be thrown in your bin due to the automated processing, but, with a little extra effort, you can ensure they find their way to the right place.

If you’re in the Sioux Falls area, check out BINfluencer for assistance.

If you’re located outside Sioux Falls, get in touch with your local county or city officials to explore alternative diversion options. 

Who is Millennium?

Millennium is a “MRF”, or Materials Recovery Facility, located in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. We began operations in 1999 and are responsible for the 2nd step (sorting & processing) of recycling:

  1. Collection—Recyclables are generated by consumers or businesses and collected by private haulers or public services.
  2. Sorting/Processing—Materials transported to a processing facility to be sorted, cleaned, and prepared for transport.
  3. Remanufacturing—Processed recyclables are transformed into new products at specialized facilities like paper mills or bottle manufacturers.

In 2007, we brought single stream recycling to the Sioux Falls community, and are proud to work with communities across the Upper Midwest helping them recycle their materials. Today, we sort and process around 100 Million Lbs of mixed recycling every year…that’s equal to about 30 ELEPHANTS every day!

Our equipment runs 4 days a week to keep up with volume, the 5th day is dedicated solely to cleanup and maintenance mainly due to impact of contamination. Want to see it in person? Schedule a tour for your group.

What Happens to My Recyclables?

If your recyclables reach our facility, we make sure they are recycled! As a private business, we strive for efficiency and recycle as much as we can. Our landfill disposal rate has consistently remained low, around 5%, which is significantly below the national average for facilities like ours at 25%.

If any non-recyclable items are brought in, we do our best to sort them and send them to the appropriate destination, such as scrap wood and metal. However, it requires extra effort and costs to do so, compared to properly disposing of waste in the first place. That’s why it’s so important to follow the recycling guide to keep the process cost-effective and efficient.

Once we have sorted and separated the materials, we rely on our strong partnerships with end users who transform them into new products. Over 95% of the materials we ship out get processed right here in the Midwest. These products, ranging from cans and bottles to plastic decking, come back to our community for a second life.

Watch our Virtual Tour video here

Watch our Children’s Tour here

What is the job like for material sorters?

While much of the sorting process is automated, our dedicated team plays a crucial role in ensuring quality control. They work alongside robots and automated equipment to make sure nothing is missed. It’s not an easy job, especially when people improperly recycle and contaminate their bins with dirty or hazardous items.

At Millennium, we collaborate with various community programs to reach out to individuals who may be interested in this physically demanding yet rewarding work.

Not only do we give materials a second chance, but we also believe in second chances for people, and have created an employment program aimed at helping people rebuild their lives. Whether they choose to grow with us or move on to new opportunities, our goal is to provide a better future.

Learn more about our employment program here


Why Should We Recycle?

The benefits of recycling are PROVEN. At Millennium, we go by “the 3 E’s”… it’s WORTH IT!

  1. Economy:
    • Recycling maximizes current Landfill Space — It’s becoming more difficult to expand existing or build new, and post-closure care is also expensive! As waste grows, landfill closure dates only continue to shrink (Sioux Falls was 2081 in 2013, it’s now 2075).
    • Recycling creates jobs from sorters, drivers, brokers, engineers, chemists, manufacturing and more! Recycling creates 30X MORE JOBS than landfills & incinerators
    • Recycling supports local small businesses including waste haulers, mrfs and processors. Puts Valuable Resources back into use and supports American manufacturing.
    • Recycling increases economic security by tapping a domestic source of materials. Recycling supplies 40% of US manufacturing raw material needs.
  2. Energy:
    • The raw materials and energy used to make products are lost when dumped in the landfill. Glass and Metal are infinitely recyclable and can be endlessly recycled with no loss of quality. Paper/Cardboard can be recycled 5-7 times, and Plastic, 1-10 times.
    • Using recovered vs mined/harvested material uses significantly less energy, even after accounting for collection, processing and transportation (95% less energy for a can from recycled aluminum than bauxite, 60-74% less for tin, 40% less for paper/cardboard, 30% less for plastic, and 15% less for glass).
    • This results in less burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas.
  3. Environment:
    • Recycling conserves finite resources like water, metal ores, timber, minerals and oil.
    • Recycling reduces pressure to expand deforestation and mining operations.
    • Recycling prevents water and air pollution from landfills & incinerators — according to the EPA, even modern landfills with new clay and plastic liners will ultimately fail, causing methane gas and leachate to escape into the air and groundwater.
    • Making glass from recycled material cuts related water pollution by 50%.
    • Recycling 1 ton of cardboard saves 46 gallons of oil.
    • Recycling 1 ton of paper saves 17 trees and 7,000 gallons of water.

Check out our informational video on why recycling is still worth it here.


How do I get started with recycling?

If you’re in the Sioux Falls area, find a local private waste hauler who can help you start recycling at your home or business. A full list of haulers who bring materials to Millennium can be found here.

If you’re not in the Sioux Falls area, find your community on our service area map.

If you don’t see your community, contact us to see if we can help get a program started in your area!

What can I do to make an impact?

You can make an impact!

  • Tell Public Officials how important recycling is to you: When supported by community officials, recycling programs are more likely to succeed. Legislation and enforcement is KEY to increase participation and increase demand for recycled content through extended producer responsibility.
  • Be a #BINfluencer: Educate yourself on what you can put in your bin, what you can bring elsewhere, and spread the word!
  • Bring Your Own Bag: Reduce your use of plastic bags and recycle what you can at drop-off locations. “Paper, Please!”
  • Recycle More! Waste Less! Ask your hauler for a 2nd recycling bin if you need one. Avoid products and packaging that can’t be recycled.
  • Use the right disposal option: Not everything goes in the bin! Find where to bring other items here.
  • Don’t bag your recyclables: Keep it loose or it’s trash!
  • Schedule a free Millennium Waste Stream Review: We’ll help you start or improve recycling at work. Learn more here.
  • Get your Sioux Falls business certified: Check out Building Sustainable Connections’ Green Business Program for Sioux Falls area businesses to showcase and kickstart your sustainability journey.
  • Be Vigilant: If you see a business without recycling, ask them why! Many are not aware it’s required – the more you demand it, the more likely they will provide it.
  • Report Hauler Issues: If you think your hauler is dumping your recyclables, report them to the City.