From ads on bus stops and radio stations to teams of interns going door-to-door, the city of Minneapolis launching a "full-court press" to boost the number of people participating in curbside organics recycling.
The program kicked off in 2015 and expanded to a citywide rollout in late March. By July, households in all of the city's neighborhoods will be able to sign up for a new organics bin to fill with food scraps, meat, fish, bones, tissues, paper plates, pizza boxes and a long list of other items.
So far, about 35 percent of eligible households have signed up, and each have filled their bins with about five pounds of organics per week. That's below the city's initial projection, which suggested that the program could get at least 40 percent of households, recycling about 7.5 pounds per household, per week.
In a council committee meeting Tuesday, officials said they expect they can top the projections -- but only with a broader effort to ensure people know about the program and how to use it. The city received a $315,000 grant from the state last year to fund outreach work about organics, and officials said they intend to spend it on a broader advertising campaign.
Kellie Kish, the city's recycling coordinator, said the city has made a concerted effort to share its message with a variety of communities -- and in at least a half-dozen languages.
An organics sign-up card that will go out in the mail in June will be sent out in four different languages to ensure that residents understand the program and can sign up without having to request additional translated materials. Interns hired by the city this summer will also go door to door in neighborhoods with some of the lowest sign-up rates.
Kish said the city's next step will be figuring out how to turn the city's compost operations into a two-way process.
"We do want to close that loop -- figuring out a way to get compost back to residents," she said.
The city raised all eligible customers' annual waste pickup fees by $48 last year to pay for the service, so new sign-ups do not come with an additional fee.