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Commissioners to consider single-sort recycling program

MORRIS – Sorting out cans, bottles and glass for recycling may be a thing of the past in Stevens County, if the Stevens County Board of Commissioners elects to move forward with a proposed change to the county-wide recycling program.

Last week, the Stevens County Solid Waste Committee met with Troy Engebretson of Engebretson Disposal and Recycling to review the county's recycling program.

At the meeting, Engebretson said he is looking into implementing a one-sort or “co-mingled” recycling program for the cities in Stevens County, Environmental Services Director Kleindl told the commissioners on Tuesday.

Under the new proposal, each household would receive a container similar to current garbage containers for curbside recycling pickup. All recyclable materials could be placed, unsorted, into the container where they would eventually to taken to a mechanical recycling facility in Sauk Centre.

The new program would also allow residents to recycle more materials directly including cardboard, more types of plastic containers and magazines, said Kleindl.

The county currently contracts with Engebretson Disposal and Recycling for county-wide recycling services. County residents pay a $45 per parcel fee into the county Solid Waste Service Fund that helps subsidize the recycling program, Kleindl said.

In 2012, about 20 percent of the waste collected in the county was recycled – 1,700 of the 5,800 total tons of waste.

The county could benefit from the change because it would likely reduce the amount of material that is thrown away and, as a result, reduce the amount of money the county reimburses for disposal services. But there may also be initial costs like purchasing 2,300 recycling containers for for county residents, said Kleindl.

The board will discuss the proposal in more detail at a work session on Monday, April 15 at 9 a.m. at the Stevens County Courthouse.