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The original item was published from 2/25/2020 11:04:43 AM to 3/7/2020 12:00:02 AM.

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Posted on: February 25, 2020

[ARCHIVED] Red Wing's Recycling Success


For Immediate Release
February 25, 2020 

Contact: Jeff Schneider
City of Red Wing, 651-385-3672 

Red Wing’s Recycling Success
New Single-sort Recycling Program Results

During the fall of 2019, the City of Red Wing adopted a new recycling program transitioning the community from utilizing collection bins, which required presorting of materials, to a new “single-sort” cart system. The goals of the new single-sort program were to make recycling easier for residents and increase recycling participation.  

 To help measure the success of the new carts and educational efforts, the City hired a professional firm to evaluate Red Wing’s recycling behaviors. In all, the recycling habits of 108 randomly selected single-family homes were assessed before and after the recycling transition occurred. Here are highlights of the results: 

  • The recycling participation rate increased from 81.6 to 94.2 percent of households. 
  • The community experienced a 25.2 percent rise in target recyclables collected, increasing from 301 to 377 pounds per occupied single-family home per year.   
  • The single-family home recycling rate for targeted recyclables, also known as the “recycling capture rate,” increased from 60.8 to 71.5 percent. When compared to an average recycling capture rate of 52 percent for 400 cities across the nation, Red Wing can be proud of its efforts. 

One of the most significant improvements was a significant decline in the number of recyclables placed in plastic bags, a 9.4 to 2.1 percent drop.  An area in which residents can continue to make improvements is in lowering the amount of non-recyclable items or “contaminants” placed in recycling carts. Below are the top four contaminants found in our recycling carts: 

1. Food Waste – rinse out containers and keep food out of the blue cart.
2. Non-recyclable Plastics – unfortunately, plastic utensils, styrofoam containers, hangers, CD covers, cup lids, and small caps can’t be recycled.
3. Bulky Rigid Plastics – “long-term use” plastics such as laundry baskets, children’s toys, buckets, and crates.
4. Non-recyclable Paper – shredded or small pieces of paper are not recyclable, and neither are paper cups or egg cartons. 

“The best rule of thumb to follow is when in doubt, throw it out into the trash,” stated City of Red Wing Waste Campus Deputy Director, Jeff Schneider. “Many of us wish we could recycle more plastic items, but these mistakes only cause problems and lower our ability to process recyclables.”

For items that are recyclable but can’t go into Red Wing’s blue carts, like bulky rigid plastics, residents can bring them directly to the Waste Campus or contact the Goodhue County Recycling Center.   

To read the full recycling report, please visit the City of Red Wing website at

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