Herald JournalHerald Journal, July 18, 2005

Recycling going to five-sort system in McLeod County cities

By Gail Lipe
McLeod County Chronicle

The way McLeod County residents sort recycling for curbside pickup is about to change. By March 2006, all curbside recycling will once again need to be sorted by type of material.

The McLeod County Solid Waste Advisory Committee (SWAC) was told on Monday that the county materials recovery facility (MRF) committee has come to an agreement with Waste Management that includes a five-sort system for curbside recycling. All of those recyclables will be directed to the MRF.

The agreement still needs to be signed by Waste Management and then approved by the McLeod County Board of Commissioners, which the board is hoping to do at its July 19 meeting.

Once the agreement is approved, the municipal curbside recycling programs will actually be administered by the county. Bob Craggs, from R.W. Beck, said Waste Management will have to meet with the municipalities and ask to be released from their contracts to move into the countywide agreement.

Craggs, who has been involved in the development of the agreement, said the objective is to create a uniform recycling program throughout the county, which includes single-family dwellings, multi-family dwellings, government buildings and schools.

The material is to be sorted in a five-sort system, the categories being newspapers and magazines, boxboard and office paper, glass, metal and plastic. Cardboard will be handled the same as it is currently.

Craggs said pricing for weekly pickup and a rate sheet for different sizes of containers were determined.

The agreement also includes revenue sharing with Waste Management on the material from it takes to the MRF from its commercial accounts. Craggs said Waste Management will receive a percentage of the cardboard revenue the MRF receives from that material.

Currently, the county pays more than $18,500 per month for the municipal recycling programs. Craggs said the new agreement increases that amount by $2,200 per month.

He said the actual amount residents will pay is not being released until the agreement is approved by the county board.

The plan is for the actual contract to be signed by Sept. 1, followed by gradually adding the municipal recycling programs into the material being delivered to the MRF.

Ed Homan, McLeod County solid waste director, said an implementation schedule has been developed, which includes a two-month education period for each municipality. Education on the new recycling program will begin in Lester Prairie and Winsted on Aug. 1, with the new five-sort recycling collections beginning Oct. 1.

Other municipalities education will begin at other times. Education in Glencoe and Plato will begin Oct. 1, with collections starting Dec. 1.

Homan said education will take place in the form of articles, city council meetings and meeting with residents.

When asked about small communities in the county that are not serviced by Waste Management, Sheldon Nies, McLeod County commissioner, said there are only two — Brownton and Stewart. He said the MRFcommittee is working with those cities, and the plan is to implement the same recycling program.

Jeff Bertram of West Central Sanitation said he hoped having West Central in the “waiting room” helped the county with negotiations.

He said West Central will continue to be a presence in the county, and will continue to service the county’s recycling sheds and some commercial accounts.

“It is kind of like being at a dance and not dancing this time, but the band keeps playing,” he said.

In other business, SWAC:

— Heard that the redemption software is up and running at the MRF. Sarah Young, solid waste coordinator, said the program is currently working with non-profit organizations and will be advertised for the public to use when everyone is comfortable with the program, which she said should be in a couple of weeks.

At that time, people will be able to receive a check for some of the recyclables, like pop cans, delivered to the MRF.

— Heard that municipalities have been having difficulties in using the tub grinder the county previously purchased for the city of Hutchinson to use at its Creekside compost facility. Gary Schreifels, maintenance director for Glencoe, said he is wondering when the tub grinder will be on a schedule for the other municipalities.

“We (the city of Glencoe) were supposed to have it in May, then in June, and now it is July,” said Schreifels. He said he is still in limbo.

Nies said the city of Winsted had a storm go through the beginning of June, and it was told it could not have the tub grinder until July. “That is unacceptable,” he said.

When the grinder was purchased, he said the county thought a schedule would be set for the cities to use it, which has not happened.

Another concern is if Winsted could not be accommodated after a storm, what would happen if there was a severe storm in the county? Nies said the MRFwill meet with Creekside and bring some answers, about both short-term and long-term objectives, to the next SWAC meeting.

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