Sioux Falls, SD
A group of waste haulers is banding together to ask customers to think twice about throwing something away.
Tony Neuroth spends many of his days criss-crossing Sioux Falls neighborhoods. His primary duty is to pick up containers filled with recyclables for D&C Solid Waste Service.
"Everyone has got the idea that they want to recycle, it's just a lot of education that we have to promote to them and give them more education on what can be recycled," Neuroth said.
Right now, about 27 percent of what D&C collects in Sioux Falls is recycled, making them one of the top collectors for recycling. But they say it's still not enough. The problem is the weight of those containers and the contents.
"Pretty much light enough, I've got an eight-year-old step-son who could pick them up with no trouble. They're mostly plastic bottles and a little bit of cardboard," Neuroth said.
Ordinances require that Sioux Falls haulers recycle 20 of the total weight of what they collect. That's prompted Ace Garbage Service to send out a letter asking customers to recycle more and more heavy items like beer bottles and phone books.
While Ace and D&C compete for business, they're united in this message.
"We've got a number that we have to meet in order to keep our license. If we're not meeting that, then the city says we're not doing good enough and not needed anymore. This is our livelihood. Everyone that recycles is helping us stay in business. Those that aren't doing their part are hindering us," Neuroth said.
While Ace and D&C both exceed that 20 percent minimum, they still fear they could lose their licenses. That's why they're reminding everyone to do their part.
"All you have to do it take a little bit of extra time and remember where you're putting it. If you see someone put something in the garbage that's not, go over there and put it in the recycling," Neuroth said.
Which is simple to do and could mean a lot to those who collect it.
One common recyclable that people forget about is children's papers from school.
Sioux Falls also has a one stream recycle system so anything that is going to be recycled can go into one container.