By Ivan Raconteur
LESTER PRAIRIE, MN McLeod County Commissioner Paul Wright and Sarah Young of McLeod County Solid Waste presented information about recycling during the Feb. 5 Lester Prairie City Council meeting.
Wright provided an overview of some of the programs that are in place in McLeod County.
Residential recycling has increased in the county in recent years, from 1,922 tons collected in 2008 to a total of more than 2,118 tons in 2012.
In Lester Prairie, recycling has increased from 101 tons in 2008 to nearly 110 tons in 2012, although there was a very slight decrease from 2011 to 2012.
The rebates to schools program in Lester Prairie has been netted more money for the Lester Prairie School District in 2011 and 2012 than in previous years, with the school receiving $755 in both of those years, compared to $301 in 2010.
Single-sort versus multi-sort recycling was a significant part of the discussion during the meeting.
Wright said recycling programs vary considerably across the state, ranging from single sort to multi sort, with several variations from county-to-county.
McLeod County currently has a five-sort program. Wright said the county is considering options, but there is no guarantee that anything will change.
Wright said changing to a single-sort program would increase the contamination rate, as well as equipment costs.
Council Member Ron Foust said Lester Prairie has about 50 percent participation in residential recycling, and asked what the city can do to increase participation.
There was discussion about things that could be done to increase residential recycling.
Wright said it is difficult to advertise all of the solid waste programs.
It was noted McLeod County Solid Waste has been accepting all types of plastic since the summer of 2010. Young said the process of notifying county residence took place slowly, by word-of-mouth.
In response to a question from Council Member Eric Angvall, Wright said it is not necessary to remove caps from plastic bottles, as it was in the past.
It is also not necessary to separate different colors of glass.
Foust said some Lester Prairie residents may not be aware that the city now has weekly curbside recycling pickup (rather than every other week).
Mayor Andy Heimerl said having only one recycling bin, and having a five-sort program, may deter some residents from recycling.
Wright said the county has given the process of evaluating its recycling options one year, and will decide how to proceed after that time.