Businesses ought not use residential service

Published 9:12 am Friday, March 8, 2013

Column: Solid Waste Officer, by Randy Tuchtenhagen

Recycling opportunities are numerous throughout our county and the majority of people appreciate that service.

If you have excess quantities of recycling and your collection day is still far away, the Waste Management recycling center drop boxes are available 24-7 north of Albert Lea just off 757th Avenue (Bridge Avenue). At this site, any person, whether homeowner or business, may bring materials for recycling.

Randy Tuchtenhagen

Randy Tuchtenhagen

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This is not the case at our rural recycling drop sites at other locations throughout the county. Those sites, many located within a city, were installed for rural residents’ use and a commercial business should not use them. Commercial businesses do not pay the solid waste fee on their property taxes like homeowners, and by using the containers meant for rural residents they are taking a service that they do not pay for. There is a program for business recycling, and by calling our office at 507-377-5186, we can help start a business recycling program.


Plastic bags

To reaffirm the story behind plastic bags, we do not want them in our recycling. No exception!

We do not want any recycling materials put out for collection in plastic bags; we do not want the plastic (film wrap) grocery bags or any other kind of plastic bags in our recycling stream. But some people continue to put them in the bins anyhow. Plastic bags should be taken to the grocery store or Walmart for recycling.

And not just plastic shopping bags. Stores also take the plastic bag from the dry cleaner, plastic bread bags, and the plastic wrap around bottled water cases, bakery goods, tissue wrap and a host of other plastic film wrap. To help you identify recyclable plastic film wrap, print a copy of an excellent web site showing what kinds of plastic bags these stores do recycle. Go to

Did I mention that we do not want any plastic bags put in our recycling?


Books, textiles, drugs

Our office receives numerous calls about recycling books. Yes, we recycle books, magazines and other publications, and we want the covers to remain on them. Even if they have a metal spiral binder, it is OK to put them in the recycling. Magnets will remove staples and binders at the paper mills. Whether they are paperback books, old textbooks or encyclopedias, they are highly recyclable.

Another great recycling opportunity is for textiles. USAgain has drop bins for clothing located at a half dozen locations from the Waste Management recycling facility north of Albert Lea and across town to the Skyline Mall area. It will accept clothing, household textiles that are clean and re-usable and shoes. Also, the Salvation Army has a drop box for textile recycling in the lot by their store between East Main Street and Bridge Avenue. You can also drop clothing items off directly at their back door during posted hours.

Don’t forget the drug drop box located in the entrance to the Law Enforcement Center. It’s available 24-7 for people to dispose of outdated or unwanted medicines. There was 147 pounds of meds dropped in January. Keep up the good work.

Reduce waste. Reduce state taxes. Save money. Recycle!


Randy Tuchtenhagenis the Freeborn County solid waste officer.