United States
                                Environmental Protection
                              Solid Waste and
                              Emergency Response
October 1999
Saint  Paul,  Minnesota
23% Waste Reduction Rate in Multi-family Dwellings
                                   Saint Paul, Minnesota, began its multi-family recycling program in 1986.
                                   Local ordinance requires that all apartment complexes offer residents
                                   recycling services. City-sponsored multi-family recycling services are
                                   available to buildings with twelve or more dwelling units. As one of the
                                   oldest programs in the United States, it is also one of the most
                                   developed. In 1997, over 27,114 units in 1,056 buildings received the
                                   recycling service and the program collected 3,418 tons of recyclables,
                                   representing a greater than  tenfold increase from the 290 tons collected in 1988.
                                   In 1997, Saint Paul achieved  a multi-family waste diversion rate of 23%, collecting 22 pounds
                                   of recyclables per multi-family unit per month.
                                Program Description
                                    ecycling came to Saint Paul in 1986. The
                                     rogram was established by a not-for-profit
                                      neighborhood coalition  the Saint
                                          Paul Neighborhood Energy
                                          Consortium (NEC). From the start of
                                          the program, planners decided to
                                         offer on-premises recycling to all city
                                         residents, regardless of whether they
                                         lived in single-family houses,
                                  ^    condominiums, high-rise apartments,
                                        or even houseboats.
                                          Originally multi-family properties
                                       had to sign up to participate in city
                                       recycling programs.  In 1992, the
                                      program became mandatory, in that all
                                      complexes must offer the services.
                                      Participation by individual residents is
                                          NEC contracts with Super Cycle to
                                     provide collection services.  The firm
                                      collects source-separated recyclables
                                      using sets of six ninety-gallon wheeled
                                      carts at each recycling station. One
                                       recycling station, which receives weekly
                                       or every other week pickup, serves up
                                        to 100 households.
                                                A key to the success of the
                                         program is city-wide uniformity of
                                          the program  there is the same
                                          set-out system, list of acceptable
                                             items, and instructions for preparation of
                                             materials throughout the city. This makes
                                             education easier, and it means that a resident
                                             who moves does not have to relearn recycling
                                                Saint Paul's multi-family recycling program
                                             is truly a group effort with the city providing
                                             the containers, NEC managing education and
                                             the contract with the hauler, and Super Cycle
                                             doing the collection. NEC works with the
                                             manager of each complex to be sure the
                                             property manager understands his or her
                                             responsibilities (keep containers accessible,
                                             clear away snow, provide move-in packages to
                                             new tenants), signs a contract with the owners
                                             of the complex, and recommends recycling be
                                             included in all leases.

                                             Outreach Activities
                                                NEC actively manages the outreach for Saint
                                                Paul's multi-family recycling programs. NEC
                                             provides educational materials including flyers,
                                             posters, displays and leadership for resident

                                               Materials Collected
                                               Telephone books
                                               Mixed paper (including mail, office paper,
                                                 magazines and catalogs, and
                                               Glass Containers
                                               Corrugated cardboard
                                        This profile is part of the fact sheet Complex Recycling Issues: Strategies for Record-Setting Waste Reduction in Multi-
                                        Family Dwellings (EPA-530-F-99-022).

mailings. Most educational materials
provide basic, clear guidelines and are
available in many languages (including
English, Spanish, Russian, Cambodian,
Hmong, Chinese, Vietnamese, and
    The program provides ongoing
feedback to residents  via monthly
data on quantity of materials recycled
by complex (the hauler is required to
provide NEC with monthly pickup
information for each account served).
These data can be graphed on a poster
provided by NEC, and displayed for
residents to see. NEC staff also attend
tenant meetings to speak about the
MFD program  upon request.
    NEC also encourages residents of
MFDs to reuse household items. It has
helped complexes set up exchange
tables where residents leave items for
free retrieval by other residents. NEC
also publishes lists of drop-off locations
where residents can donate used
clothes, furniture, and other reusable
   Recycling in multi-family dwellings in
   Saint Paul is financed by a city tax of
$13 per dwelling unit per year, billed to
MFD property owners on their property
tax bills. In 1996, Saint Paul paid the NEC
$12.17 per household served, NEC in
turn paid Super Cycle $9.81 per
household for recycling collection and
marketing and used the remaining
monies to fund its outreach and
educational programs.
    The per ton cost of MFD recycling is
approximately $94 in Saint Paul,
compared to $119 per ton for trash
(collection averaged $70 per ton and
disposal cost $49 per ton). Although the
per ton cost of the recycling program is
greater than the per ton cost of
collecting trash, total trash costs are
higher because of disposal tip fees.
Furthermore, if recycling were eliminated
and all discards were collected as trash,
conservative estimates indicate that total
costs per multi-family household would
essentially be unchanged. In 1996, the
total cost of the trash collection and
disposal and recycling programs was $64
for multi-family households; the costs for
trash collection and disposal of all waste
generated at MFDs would have been at
least $63. Saint Paul has designed a
system where recycling programs are
delivered at essentially no additional
cost to the community, and where
significant diversions prolong the life of
disposal facilities.

Tips for Replication

   Accept the same materials and use
a consistent sorting system for all
program participants in your
   Produce educational materials
using simple graphics.
   Use multiple means of getting the
message out  including tenant
meetings, newsletters, lease clauses,
posters celebrating achievements, and
direct mailings.
       Rick Person
       Solid Waste Manager
       800 City Hall Annex
       Saint Paul, MN 55102
       (651) 266-6122 fax (651) 298


       Pat Schoenecker
       Multifamily Recycling Manager
       Neighborhood Energy Consortium
       623 Selby Avenue
       Saint Paul, MN 55104
       (651) 644-7678 fax (651) 649-3109


       Ecodata, Inc.
       97 N.Campo Road
       Westport, CT 06880
       (203) 454-1700 fax (203) 227-5289
                                                              Program Summary, 1996

  Start Date
  Type of Multi-Family Buildings

  Households Served
  Average Persons per HH Served
  Total Waste Generated (Tons)
  Total Diverted (%)
  Average Generation (Ibs./HH/day)
  Average per ton SWM costs
      Trash Collection*
      Trash Disposal
  SWM Cost per HH per Year
  Estimated Costs per HH per Year
  without Waste Reduction***
1989, reached 100% of MFDs served in 1995
All buildings and complexes in the city with
12 or more units

  HH = household      SWM = solid waste management
  Numbers may not add to total due to rounding.
  * Ecodata estimated costs based on discussions with private haulers serving the MFD sector in Saint Paul.
  **Represents$12.17 per household fee paid by the city to the Saint Paul NEC.
  ***ln order to estimate what per household costs might have been if Saint Paul had no recycling program, Ecodata
  assumed that all waste generated would be handled as trash and the marginal collection cost per ton of material
  that was recycled would be equal to 50% of the per ton trash collection cost in the present system.