Archived Story

Recycling is up thanks to new containers

Published 1:14pm Friday, January 3, 2014

Column: Solid Waste Officer, by Randy Tuchtenhagen

With a month of statistics under our belt there is some fantastic news to report about the new recycling program started in December. The recycling participation is up and the tonnage of materials collected is also up.

Randy Tuchtenhagen
Randy Tuchtenhagen

We had evidence of increased recycling the first day of the program when the truck reported weighing 9.2 tons. On that same Monday a year ago it weighed in at 5.4 tons and the average for a Monday route is normally 4.7. The recycling truck driver is also reporting that with the new carts, there are many more people recycling than in the past. Nearly double on some streets.

While many people will not fill their new carts to capacity every two weeks, it’s still a good idea to place it out for collection. If you have company or are nearing a holiday, you may experience an overabundance of recyclables and not have room for them if you cart was not emptied recently.

Also, in warmer weather, you may experience some minor odors if all your recyclables were not rinsed clean. Two weeks is a long time for bad smells to grow if any containers are not clean. Don’t worry about removing labels, it’s not necessary.

Leave lids on all containers but make certain the product is emptied. And please, please do not use plastic bags to put recyclables in and do not tie papers. The plastic bags are not easily opened by the automated equipment at the recycling center and they become tangled in the moving parts of the sorting equipment as do string and twine.

We had a few requests for a larger container and a few calls about getting a smaller one.

There are different sizes of tip carts on the market, but only the 64-gallon size were brought in for our recycling program. Some larger 96-gallon containers are being used for businesses and at our rural drop locations. The smaller containers have problems blowing over on windy days, do not stay in the grasp arms of the automated truck and fall into the packer box easily. Currently there are no smaller sizes available for recycling.

We suggest that neighbors share a container if the one they have is too large. If you are a senior citizen or disabled and are unable to place the cart at the curb for collection, the driver will walk up to the house for your cart. This service is only for those who are not physically capable of rolling the carts to the curb. Simply call the toll free number on the cart to arrange for walk-up. The cart must be placed out front on collection day where the driver can see it from the street.

There are a few areas where an empty home or apartment still has a cart lying in the front yard. In a short time these carts will be collected by our vendor.

It is our hope that everyone will use their new recycling carts to the extreme. Our new program earns rebates on all recyclables that are collected so an increase in volumes will mean more money returning each month.


Randy Tuchtenhagen is the Freeborn County solid waste officer.