While Governor Kristi Noem has increased the rate of talking points recycled from Fox News and Breitbart, the trashy people she’s bringing to South Dakota are dragging down the overall recycling rate in Sioux Falls:
Alongside issues of plastic bags, data from Sioux Falls commercial garbage haulers in 2022 showed the overall recycling rate was 18.7% short of the recycling goal of 20.5%.
Five years ago, Sioux Falls area haulers reported a 23.4% recycling rate. The national average recycling rate was 32% in 2022, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
“With a population increase, we noticed that recycling has been going down the last few years,” Dwire said. “That was a red flag to us that maybe we need to do a little better” [Eric Mayer, “4 Years After Ban, Plastic Bags Still and Issue for Recycling Industry,” KELO-TV, 2023.08.22].
A March 2021 report from international enviroconsultants Eunomia and the Ball Corporation found South Dakotans recycling 36% of common containers and packaging materials, including cardboard. That’s the 28th-best rate in the nation. 14 states, including Minnesota and Iowa, recycle more than 50% of common containers and packaging.
Yale University’s Environmental Performance Index says the United States recycles only 14.8% of recyclable materials, which ranks us 105th globally, just a little better than Jordan and Kyrgyzstan but just behind Djibouti, Nicaragua, Lebanon, and Jamaica. Seven nations—Singapore, Vanuatu, Australia, Iceland, Benin, Samoa, and South Korea—recycle more then 50% of their recyclable material. Maybe the Governor should work on getting more South Koreans to move to South Dakota.