From ads at bus stops and on radio stations to teams of interns going door-to-door, Minneapolis is 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 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, only about 35 percent of eligible households have signed up, and they have filled their bins with about 5 pounds of organics each per week.
That’s below the city’s initial projections, which suggested the program could get at least 40 percent of households, recycling about 7.5 pounds per household per week.
In a council committee meeting last week, 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 in four languages to ensure 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 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.