Archived Story

More materials can be recycled than before

Published 10:47am Thursday, May 9, 2013

Column: Solid Waste Officer, by Randy Tuchtenhagen

With spring cleaning comes the decision of how to dispose of items that should not be put into the trash can. With so many people going to smaller trash containers, and more people using the pre-paid metered bag service, it is not possible to throw out everything. There are collections coming this summer you don’t want to miss. They will save you money and provide you with a responsible and proper disposal option.

Randy Tuchtenhagen
Randy Tuchtenhagen

The household hazardous waste program that collects paints, chemicals and hazardous materials will be operating in cities throughout the county until September. After that you will have to hang on to those items for another year. The hazardous waste mobile unit will accept agriculture pesticides from farms, acids, antifreeze, old gasoline, rechargeable type batteries, weed killer, insect killer, poisons, fertilizer, paint, stain, varnish, glue, oven cleaner and the list goes on. Check out a more detailed list on our disposal collection schedule on the county website at

Residents may attend any collection in any city throughout the summer. Our program is county specific, meaning we will refer people who live in another county to their own program managers for disposal.

We do encourage residents to attend collections in our small communities because of the high volume of people coming to the Albert Lea collections. No lines and much quicker attention to your load in a small community. This also helps manage our intake of waste, spreading the workload.

We receive many questions and phone calls about the disposal of electronics. The Minnesota Legislature has passed a law that bans any person from putting a video display device into the trash, including flatscreens.

Our program will take these and other electronic items such as the computer tower, keyboard, microwaves, speakers, printers, wiring, stereos and so on. We do not take white goods or appliances such as washers, refrigerators or dryers. Those items should be taken to the I-35 Auto Recycling just northeast of Clarks Grove.

In past years we told people they cannot recycle their egg cartons, No. 6 plastic clamshell plastic food boxes or anything that came from the refrigerator or freezer. That information has changed!

We now accept egg cartons (no styrofoam) and just about anything made from wood pulp, including the bacon boxes, butter boxes and frozen food boxes from the freezer. We also now accept the No. 6 plastics such as the clamshell food boxes (no styrofoam) in the recycling. Your volume of weekly garbage just went down even more!

We have more changes being considered that will improve our recycling program and make it even easier for you to reduce your volume of trash. Stay tuned in coming months.


Randy Tuchtenhagen is the Freeborn County solid waste officer.