Hennepin County conducted a waste study (PDF) in 2017 to assess how well apartment and condo buildings were recycling. The study looked at the recycling diversion rate, contamination levels in the recycling, and the composition of what was being discarded as trash. The results highlighted the following conclusions and next steps.
Apartment buildings have low recycling rates and high contamination rates
The study found that 13.2 percent of everything being discarded by apartment and condo residents is being diverted for recycling. This is significantly lower than the countywide recycling rate of 41 percent.
There is also a lot of contamination in the recycling. About 24 percent of what was put in the recycling was actually trash.
Hennepin County will continue to focus on educating residents about what is recyclable and better labeling recycling and trash containers.
There are significant opportunities to divert more materials from the trash
Analysis of the trash found that only 30 percent was truly trash. The remaining 71 percent was materials that likely could be diverted. This included organics (33 percent), recycling (23 percent), bulky/reusable household goods (8 percent), textiles (7 percent) and hazardous waste or electronics (2 percent).
Hennepin County will continue to work with properties to increase their recycling service, add organics recycling, and help residents donate usable household goods and properly dispose of household hazardous waste.
Service levels are not adequate
The study also found that typical service levels may not be adequate to collect the amount of recycling generated at apartment and condo buildings. On average, properties provided half the amount of service capacity for recycling as they did for trash.
The county will emphasize increasing recycling service at properties to establish a recycling to trash service ratio of at least 1:1.
Read the full report
Read the full multifamily waste study report (PDF) to learn more.