By Jen Bakken
Beginning in 1979 with one garbage truck, Randy’s Sanitation in Delano has become the largest independent trash company in the state of Minnesota. It is committed to offering a comprehensive recycling program including a two-sort system allowing for customer convenience.
This systems sorts recycling into fibers such as newsprint, mixed mail, magazines, boxboard and bundled cardboard. The second part to the system is containers including plastic bottles, glass containers, food cans, and aluminum beverage cans.
Randy’s also offers yard waste collection in most of its service areas. It accepts bags of grass clippings, or leaves. In 1992, the State of Minnesota banned disposal of yard waste in landfills, including lawn clippings, leaves, and brush. This means yard waste must be collected by a designated truck, routed separately, and the waste is disposed of at a state-approved composting facility.
In areas such as Loretto, Medicine Lake, Medina, Minnetonka, Orono, St. Bonifacius, and Wayzata, Randy’s now offers its customers the option of household organic recycling. These materials, including food scraps, and food-soiled paper products, account for approximately 25 percent of what consumers throw away.
Instead of taking up space in a landfill or being burned in the incinerator, they are recycled into compost a valuable resource used to replenish soils, reduce soil erosion, prevent polluted storm water runoff from contamination wetlands, lakes and streams, and capture carbon dioxide for climate protection.
Hennepin County currently has a household organics recycling program although, Wright, McLeod, and Meeker Counties do not. Sherburne County has contracted with Hennepin County to offer organics recycling.
“Although Wright County does not currently have an organics program,” said Jim Wollschlager of Randy’s Sanitation. “The City of Delano has expressed interest and if this becomes available they would be the first city in the county to offer it.”
Last fall the City of Delano renewed its contract for refuse services with Randy’s Sanitation and as part of the bidding process, the city requested Randy’s expand into organic collection as well as the standard refuse and recycling services, said Delano City Administrator Phil Kern.
Though Randy’s cited that it offers organics collection in several Hennepin County communities because of contracts and tipping fees with the county, Wright County does not have a similar program. “We did add into the contract that if at any time during the contract period Wright County creates a similar program,” stated Kern. “Randy’s will offer the service to Delano residents.
Currently, the collected organic recycling materials are brought directly to a Hennepin County composting facility. Along with food scraps and food-soiled paper products, other materials accepted include full vacuum cleaner bags, dryer lint, tissues and cotton balls, floral trimmings, and house plants.
“There was a proposal submitted and talked about extensively,” said Wright County Environmental Health Advisor Bill Stephens. “However residents in the area of the compost facility were concerned about odor and at this time residents would have to talk with their garbage company to see about organics recycling options.”
According to Jack Russek, Wright County Commissioner, the ways and means committee is currently working on a yard waste collection program.
“We are talking about it,” Russek said. “And working on a plan to offer this program to residents.”