July 2021
Recycling Legislation: Local, State & National
Are you up to date on the current recycling legislation?

Aside from regulating universal and hazardous wastes, there is currently no national legislation that mandates recycling. However, proposed legislation has made a comeback this year that could change the way the US handles recycling through product bans and extended producer responsibility initiatives. The last recorded recycling/composting rate for municipal solid waste in the US was 32.1% in 2018, and in 2020, the EPA announced a national recycling goal of 50% by 2030... that’s an ambitious goal to achieve in 10 years!

STATE (South Dakota)
State regulation typically falls into two major categories: landfill bans or recycling goals. Landfill bans make it illegal to dispose of specific items in a landfill, while recycling goals encourage recycling of specific items through incentives like bottle bills. South Dakota currently does not have any state-wide recycling legislation. The last recorded recycling/composting rate for municipal solid waste in South Dakota was 18.5% in 2011.

LOCAL (Sioux Falls)
Sioux Falls is the only city in South Dakota that requires recycling. Effective May 4, 2004, recycling is required for Paper, Cardboard, Plastics #1 and #2, Newspaper, Electronics, Magazines, Bulk rate mail, and  Aluminum, tin, and steel cans. The city ordinance states that recyclables must be collected at least twice each month by a licensed garbage hauler and any solid waste containing visible required recyclable materials shall not be collected for disposal:

"Garbage haulers must leave a note explaining why solid waste was not collected. Residents and businesses must remove those required recyclable materials before the garbage hauler can collect solid waste that has been rejected for this reason."

Recycling facilities, collectors, and businesses are all required to report the weight of recyclable materials to the city of Sioux Falls. For full ordinance details, see Chapter 57. The last recorded recycling rate for municipal solid waste in Sioux Falls was 22.1% in 2020. It's important to note, the Sioux Falls rate does not included composting, whearas the National and State rates do.

We closely follow recycling legislation and will keep you updated with any important changes.
Core Issue: Supply and Demand
A recent article in Waste 360 did an excellent job explaining the issue of supply and demand in recycling.

If the EPA's goal is to achieve "50 by 30", recycling goals and mandates need to start focusing on end markets, not just on supply.

Without the end markets to support an increase in supply, no matter how many recyclables are collected and sorted, the final requirement is an end user. Without aan end user, material cannot be recycled.

The best way to promote recycling markets is for manufacturers to incorporate recycled materials into their products and packaging. However, many brands are focused on getting their packaging accepted as recyclable, rather than utilizing increased recycled content.

Sustainability in Sioux Falls
The City of Sioux Falls is leading a Steering Committee to help guide sustainability goals and actions. The committee is made up of citizen and industry representatives and Millennium's President, Shannon Dwire, is participating. Dwire is hopeful to make progress on the initiatives set forth in the Master Plan that was initially released in 2012.

One of the main short-term goals of the Master Plan is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions both within city government and in the community at large by 45% by 2030 – with a long-term goal of hitting net-zero emissions by 2050.

For more details, check out this Simplified article.
Employee Shortage Crisis
It's no secret that businesses across the country are struggling to find workers. The solid waste industry is no exception.

With South Dakota experiencing an employee shortage even before the pandemic began, we have been in a tough spot here at Millennium and we've heard the same from the majority of waste haulers.

SWANA recently released a paper that provides some suggestions for how local companies can address the situation including:
  • Promote industry jobs as providing recession-resistant, long-term career opportunities.
  • Renegotiate contracts to reflect wage increases or reductions in service levels.
  • Utilize automated collection trucks where feasible to reduce workforce helper demands and improve worker safety.

Keloland also recommends:
  • Hiring teenagers and allowing flexibility.
  • Utilizing tools on South Dakota Works, the state's online job posting site.
  • Listing the wage on your job posting.

*If you are seeing a high turnover of drivers, please make sure they are well-trained on our driver guidelines to ensure safe and efficient recycling deliveries at Millennium.
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"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.