2017 Was a Record-Breaking Year for Recycling!

City of Sioux Falls Public Works today announced that the licensed waste haulers’ recycling rate for 2017 was 24.4 percent, up 1.2 percent from 2016 and the highest annual recycling rate to date for the region. In 2017, licensed waste haulers brought in 5,500 fewer tons of municipal solid waste to the Sioux Falls Regional Sanitary Landfill and nearly 2,000 more tons of recyclable material to regional material recycling facilities.

“I wish I could get folks in Sioux Falls as excited about recycling as their Mayor is,” says Mayor Mike Huether. “It is so easy to do, saves us a bunch of money and is so great for our environment, too.”

Recycling rates are calculated by dividing the total amount of recyclables by the total amount of solid waste hauled. By City ordinance, all licensed commercial waste haulers are annually required to achieve the standard of at least 80 percent of the recycling goal. In 2017, the recycling standard was 18.6 percent. Haulers who do not meet the standard receive a surcharge. Haulers with a recycling rate of 35.4 percent or more receive a rebate. All waste haulers’ annual recycling rates are posted at www.siouxfalls.org/green.

The City also announced the annual recycling goal for 2018. With yard waste removed, the 2017 overall recycling rate is 22.8 percent. Thus, the 2018 recycling rate for licensed waste haulers will be 22.8 percent.

While the region has experienced an increase in recycling, the City wants to remind residents how to recycle properly. Below are some guidelines to help residents and businesses recycle everything they can.

The City’s recycling guidelines include: 

  • Do recycle tin and aluminum cans; plastic containers such as bottles, tubs, and jugs; cardboard and cartons; and paper such as newspaper, magazines, and office paper.
  • Bag shredded paper in a clear plastic bag before putting it in your recycling bin.
  • Bag plastic bags together in a clear plastic bag before putting them in your recycling bin.
  • All other recyclables should be placed loose (unbagged) in your recycling bin.
  • Never put medical, food, pet, or human waste in the recycling bin.
  • Electronics, hazardous waste, Styrofoam, ceramics, porcelain, toys, clothing, and garden hoses do not belong in the recycling bin.

Recycling contamination, including nonrecyclable materials in single stream recycling, can cause safety hazards, degradation of the recyclable material in the load, and increased operating costs for waste haulers and recycling facilities. Sioux Falls residents and visitors are encouraged: When in doubt, leave it out of your recycling bin.

Another tracking mechanism used to highlight the region’s recycling efforts, making it easier to compare Sioux Falls to other communities across the country, is the regional recycling rate. Sioux Falls’ 2017 regional recycling rate was 44 percent. This rate takes into account materials recycled at material recovery facilities beyond the weights reported for the waste haulers. Examples would include scrap metal and tire recycling. The most recent report from the United States Environmental Protection Agency estimates the national recycling rate to be 34.6 percent.

“It’s great to see our recycling rate increase. This is a result of our community recycling more and recycling better and also producing less waste. Recycling is vital to our local environment and solid waste industry, but it’s also important to remember the other two R’s—reduce and reuse,” states Sustainability Coordinator Jessica Sexe.

For more information about recycling in our region or for a copy of the new recycling guide, please visit www.siouxfalls.org/recycle.