South Dakota city posts solid diversion rate, though contamination holds it back
- The City of Sioux Falls Public Works released its annual recycling report showing that the 2016 residential diversion rate was 23.2% in South Dakota's largest city, as reported by KELO.
- Sioux Falls is serviced by more than 20 private haulers and posts their individual diversion rates each year to show how they stack up against annual targets. Haulers that didn't meet the city's recycling standard of 18.9% diversion were penalized and any that surpassed 35.4% would have received a rebate, though none did. About half of the haulers met or exceeded the 2016 goal of 23.6% diversion.
- Overall, the city saw a slight 0.4% reduction in its diversion rate from 2015 which has been attributed in part to contamination. The ongoing trend toward lighter weight packaging material was also cited as a factor.
Sioux Falls made the switch to single-stream recycling in 2013 and has noticed an increase in its diversion rate since then. While the city is below the regional rate of 47% it is still performing better than the state and has saved an estimated 20 years of landfill capacity through these efforts.
As is the case in many cities, contamination continues to be a challenge in single-stream programs despite all of the usual educational methods. After seeing its diversion rate recently drop below 9% due to contamination Providence, RI plans to offer educational materials in new languages and increase enforcement efforts. Other cities have found success by experimenting with targeted messaging or personal connections to make people think more about their sorting habits.
By making the diversion rates of individual haulers so transparent, as well as offering financial incentives, Sioux Falls is putting some of the onus on them to work with their customers. This type of information isn't often available in a standardized format for residents to compare and shows surprising results. For example, local family-owned company Ace Garbage Service was the clear leader while Waste Management ranked second-to-last.
- City of Sioux Falls Sioux Falls Recycles Nearly Half of Its Waste
- KDLT News Contaminated Recyclables Leading to Some Problems in Sioux Falls
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