Contaminated Recyclables Leading to Some Problems in Sioux Falls

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Residents in Sioux Falls are doing a good job of recycling, but they could be doing better.  The city announced its 2016 recycling rates today.
It turns out people are trying to be good recyclers, they just don’t understand some of the simple rules.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.  We’ve all heard it, but how many of us actually practice what we’ve been told since childhood?  Well, here in Sioux Falls, we actually recycle almost half of our waste according to the Public Works Department.

The Sustainability Coordinator at the Sioux Falls Public Works Department, Jessica Lantgen, said “We’ve added 20 years of life to our landfills just by diverting that material which would have been buried into recycling facilities where it gets made into new products.”

However, 2016’s recycling rates were still about 3 percent less than the previous year’s rates.  The Public Works Department says a lot of that has to do with contamination issues.

“It’s important to recycle but it’s also really important to recycle right so that we can recycle more material. So we do this through working with our haulers,” said Lantgen

The City of Sioux Falls Environmental Division says haulers can help fight contamination issues by doing simple things to inform their customers.

“Recycling cardboard and they put a pizza box in there.  The hauler put a sticker on there and wrote this isn’t recyclable due to contamination,” said Andy Berg, the Environmental Manager at the Sioux Falls Environmental Division.

In light of the slight setback this year, compared to the national average of nearly 35 percent, Sioux Falls is still much better at recycling, but the Public Works Department says we can do many things to improve our recycling rates.

“It takes everybody to make it work.  It takes the landfill it takes the haulers it takes the citizens to make this work.  If there’s issues work with your haulers to get those issues resolved,” said Dustin Hansen, the Landfill Superintendent from the Sioux Falls Regional Sanitary Landfill.

Remember the next time before you go to throw away your waste, “Don’t throw away, recycle for another day.”

The Department of Public Works said to avoid contamination issues, you don’t have to wash your recyclables like you would your dishes.  Just simply wipe them out or rinse them off.

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