July 2022
Garbage Has Been Increasing in Recycling Loads!
What's the problem? We've been seeing a concerning trend with more trash and less recycling coming into Millennium from the Sioux Falls area. These numbers are consistent with what the City is seeing as well: In 2017, the MSW tonnage at the landfill was 181,795, and in 2021, tonnage was 211,669 (up 15%). In comparison, the recycling rate has decreased from 22.8% in 2017 to 20.5% in 2021 (down 2.3%).
Why is this important? Not only does recycling save dwindling landfill space and prevent pollution in our community, it also supports regional small businesses and supplies a domestic source of critical raw materials for American manufacturing, which strengthens our country’s economic security. According to ISRI, recycling supplies 40% on average across all commodities of the raw material needs in the US alone.

Why is this happening? Whether this decrease in recycling is due to a lack of education, a shortage in drivers being able to monitor loads, or people just not caring, we are concerned about the direction we're headed. Other growing communities we work with are not seeing this same trend, and the pressure is on at the National level as well, with the EPA setting a goal of 50% recycling by 2030. We have asked the City of Sioux Falls to help us combat this negative trend and we’re hopeful we can get ahead of the problem before it’s too late.

What can we do? Over the next few months, we will be supporting the City as they work on a new landfill composition study and look into innovative ways to get recycling back on track. At Millennium, we are working on a new public education campaign internally as well as supporting efforts of the local waste-diversion focused nonprofit, Ecomaniacs.

In the meantime, we need your help:
  1. Educate your drivers and customers on what goes in the bin. Order free guides and posters here.
  2. Monitor your loads as best you can. Commercial loads, multi-housing units, and mobile parks are a major source of contamination. Schedule a Waste Assessment for help!
  3. Share your ideas with us! If you have any recommendations on how to increase recycling and decrease contamination, we want to hear from you! Share your ideas with us here.
We provide free printed guides and commercial posters for all of our customers to distribute to help promote what to put in and keep out of the bin.
Just let us know how many you'd like and we'll send them to you!
Residential Flyer
Commercial Poster
Spanish Flyer
Robots on the Way...Bags Still an Issue!
Due to stagnant markets, aging equipment, and our responsibility to keep costs low (along with the challenges we have all faced with labor shortages) Millennium has made the decision to significantly invest in equipment upgrades this year, including the addition of robotics.
For recycling to succeed with robots, it is critical we have the support of the communities we serve to ensure the right materials are coming in.
Many other facilities have used robotics to simply pull out plastic bags and send them (and the entire contents they contain) to the landfill. Although this would be a huge labor and cost savings for Millennium, we would see a noticeable loss in recovered materials due to the amount of bagged recyclables we still receive.
Since the bag ban in 2019, we’ve noticed a slight decrease, but bags and film are still a major issue in the recycling process. We are currently researching options, but if we implement the new robotics the way others have, the responsibility for putting the right things in the bin would be placed solely on the generator, as the labor required for Millennium staff to open the bags and recover the recyclables would no longer be an option.
The decrease in recyclable materials would also lead to an increase in our residue, or trash, being sent to the landfill. This would most likely require us to raise fees to ensure we can cover the higher landfill and hauling costs, and would drastically impact the hauler recycling rate for those in the Sioux Falls area, which is already on a downward trend.
Although we are excited for these improvements, we want to be transparent with the issues we may be facing, and we need your help to ensure bags are staying out of the bin.

The majority of bagged materials are coming from commercial generators and multi-housing units. If you have these types of customers, please help us by educating them on the importance of keeping bags out of the bin. We have voiced our concerns with the City of Sioux Falls as well, and are looking forward to their support in education.

We are open to conversation and talking through strategies as we incorporate the use of robots use in our plant. Thank you for helping us succeed!
Safety Reminder!!
Drivers are NOT ALLOWED under their gates when on Millennium property. We provide hooks to assist with truck clean outs and want everyone to make it home to their families safely.

Earlier this month, we saw this tragic story of an accident, and we wanted to share this important safey reminder!
Text "millrecycle" to 888-992-5781 or opt-in online here.

Our simple waste stream assessment can help reduce contamination and increase your recycling rate. Contact us to schedule an on-location waste audit with your commercial customers. 

Get quick access to hauler educational tools, guidelines and resources all in one place. 

Follow our blog to share information and education with your customers!
"On the Line" is our quarterly newsletter meant to keep you informed on current events at our facility, in our community and in the recycling industry. If you want to hear about a topic or have a question you want us to answer, please let us know! We look forward to keeping you updated, thanks for your continued partnership as a Millennium Recycling customer.