In its first year, Minneapolis only collected half as much organics recycling as it had hoped

More people signed up than expected, though.
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Minneapolis released data Friday for its first full year of organics recycling. And it had more people participate than the city initially expected. However, it didn't divert nearly as much waste.

Last July, the program expanded to cover the entire city, the Star Tribune reports. Back then, the city anticipated 40 percent of households would opt in for the service. That's about 42,000.

But participation actually went above and beyond that. According to Friday's report, 45,000 households signed up to recycle food scraps and dirty paper products.

As far as how much was diverted from landfills, 4,000 tons of organics was recycled. That's a lot, but it's only half as much as the city had initially anticipated.

David Herberholz, Minneapolis' director of solid waste, told the paper that's because people are being very careful about what they're recycling.

“People are very conscious of getting the program right,” he said. “So they’re kind of tiptoeing and concentrating on the food waste, initially.”

Which is good because less than 1 percent of what residents were placing in carts was not acceptable material.

So people are throwing in things like fruit and vegetable scraps – not bones, egg cartons, popsicle sticks, and food-soiled paper products, which the program also accepts.

Minneapolis residents can sign up for the organics recycling program here. It doesn't cost anything extra. For a list of what is and is not accepted, click here.

What if you don't live in Minneapolis?

If you live outside of Minneapolis, check with your city and county to see it they offer organics recycling or composting.

Not everything is curbside pickup, but you might be able to drop organics off for free somewhere.

For tips on composting, click here. For tips on managing food waste, click here. And to learn how to make the most of the groceries you buy, click here.

According to a report by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Minnesotans produced about 5.5 million tons of trash in 2015. That's 2,000 pounds per person.

Of that, 32 percent of trash was sent to landfills, 44 percent was recycled, 23 percent went to waste-to-energy processing, and 1 percent was illegally dumped or burned.

The agency said that a recent waste composition study in Minnesota found that 63 percent of waste going to disposal or processing facilities could have been recycled or composted.

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