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Dassel considers switching to single sort recycling

June 23, 2008

By Roz Kohls
Staff Writer

Single sort recycling will cost a dollar more per month per residence in Dassel, but it is easier for both consumers and Waste Management, Pam Fleischacker, municipal market manager for the Winsted sanitation contractor, told the Dassel City Council last Monday.

Participation went up 20 percent in Cokato when it started single sort recycling in December, she said.

Single sort recycling is the mixing or co-mingling of all recyclable material in one container. If Dassel contracts with Waste Management for single sort recycling, it will cost each residence $2.91 per month for five years, Fleischacker said.

Waste Management will provide the 64-gallon wheeled-carts. If later, residents prefer a 35-gallon cart or a 96-gallon cart, they may switch carts. The cost will stay the same, she said.

Single sort is easier for consumers because they can toss all their recyclables into the same container. Consumers don’t need to lift a heavy rectangular tub, because the carts have wheels on them, and can be rolled out to the curb, Fleischacker said.

On windy days, the recyclables are more likely to stay in the covered cart than in the open 25-inch by 15-inch bin on the ground, Fleischacker said.

When recycling programs first started in 1988, the recyclables had to be sorted into seven different containers. Currently, Dassel has two sorts. Waste Management started single sort in 2002, she said.

Single sort recycling has removed 10 pounds of recyclables per household from the waste stream, or an additional 1.5 million pounds per month diverted from the waste stream overall, she said in a PowerPoint presentation to the council and the city’s cable TV audience.

Single sort is easier for Waste Management also, Fleischacker pointed out. The carts can be emptied into the Waste Management truck with automation. Also, when the recyclables get to Minneapolis, where they are processed, automation again is used to sort them. Large magnets remove the metal cans, for example. Electric eyes can determine whether plastic is clear or opaque, she said.

Waste Management has found markets in the Midwest for all recyclables except plastic yogurt containers and plastic margarine tubs, Fleischacker said.

In addition to Cokato, other area cities getting single sort recycling are Buffalo, Carver and Victoria. Montrose will be rolling out their program soon.

City Administrator Myles McGrath said he has heard other cities like the single sort program. The council probably won’t make a decision whether to start single sort until the fall, however.

Council Member Wayne Medcraft suggested Waste Management put adhesive on the back of the pick-up schedule label, so it sticks to the inside of the cart lid and doesn’t get lost.

In other sanitation business, Fleischacker reported Waste Management picked up 19.86 tons of trash using 32 man hours during Dassel’s cleanup day in May. More than 40 mattresses or box springs were collected, she said.

Odds and ends

In other business, the city council:

• heard a report from Dassel Firefighter Kurt Mortenson that the department made 115 calls this year, compared to 102 last year. Also, five new firefighters have applied. If all pass their physicals, the department will be fully staffed with 31 members, he said.

The department also is beginning research for replacing a 1983 backup pumper truck, he said.

• increased the annual pension benefit for firefighters to $2,300 from $2,200.

• capped spending for advertising for the fire department’s fundraiser June 21 at $500.

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