Herald JournalHerald Journal, March 21, 2005

Winsted residents probably will have to sort recycling to several levels

By Lynda Jensen

More sorting of recyclables will likely be the future for Winsted residents pending the outcome of an agreement between Waste Management and the McLeod County Board.

Sheldon Swensen of Waste Management confirmed last week that the tentative agreement being formulated contains language about four or five sorts for Winsted, with the wild card being cardboard and newspaper counted as one sort or not.What's in it for YOU?

“Both sides had to make concessions,” Swensen said.

If so, it means that Winsted will be surrounded by towns that are only required to make two sorts or less, including Howard Lake, Lester Prairie and New Germany (the latter of which is one sort).

The agreement also means that Winsted will join two out of nine cities in the county that are required to make more than two sorts – Hutchinson and Silver Lake – both of which sort seven ways.

“I can live with that sort,” commented Winsted Mayor Don Guggemos, although he noted that fewer sorts would naturally result in more participation in the recycling program, and that more sorting works against that.

The agreement is being fine tuned by attorneys on both sides, Swensen said.

Previously, it was OK’d by the county solid waste advisory committee.

When it is ironed out, it will go to the McLeod County board to be formally approved.

This may be as soon as two weeks, or as long as 60 to 90 days, Swensen said.

The county’s goal is to have all municipalities haul their recyclables to the materials recovery facility in Hutchinson.

Previously, both parties have been at odds over the issue of sorting, in particular about the number of times that residents would be required to sort their items.

The county favors multiple sorts, where residents would be required to sort their recyclables anywhere from four to seven levels.

Sorting the items into seven groups would benefit the county at the expense of Waste Management, since the items would be pre-sorted and taken to Hutchinson, instead of to Waste Management’s facility in Norwood Young America.

Waste Management prefers a simple two-sort policy, because additional sorting would cost it money in the way of man hours and curbside collection.

Pre-sorting the items is more cost-effective for the county, according to Ed Homan of the Solid Waste Facility in Hutchinson.

If they don’t, the county has discussed withholding money reimbursed to the cities for recycling.

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