The Solid Waste Department has started work on the Single-Sort Recycling Grant that was awarded earlier this year by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. The grant funds will support expansion of the single-sort recycling program to more county residents and businesses.
One of the first tasks of the project is gathering input from diverse stakeholders from across the county. To solicit this input, an advisory committee made up of community stakeholders was formed and had its first meeting in early October to learn about and give input on the planning process. The Advisory committee will meet several times over the coming months to provide input and feedback on the planning process.
Transitioning to a different recycling system will take time, with the process expected to take several years, most likely rolled out in stages. Solid Waste staff are working with the Advisory Committee and staff from Burns & McDonnel to evaluate multiple program and collection options to create a system that will best serve our communities. Part of the planning process also involves identifying infrastructure needs to handle an increased volume of recyclables.
The Otter Tail County recycling program currently collects and processes 4,500 tons of recyclable material every year. Expanding access to single-sort would make recycling for rural residents easier, and would be expected to increase collection of recyclables by another 2,000 tons per year. Single-sort recycling was identified as a top priority for residents during completion of the Solid Waste Master Plan last year and is an important step on our path toward ‘zero landfilling’. Moving toward zero landfilling was established as the first guiding principle in the Solid Waste Master Plan – a document that will guide program development and services over the next 25 years.
For more information about solid waste and recycling programs visit www.ottertailcountymn.us/department/solid-waste/.