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The City of Minot’s curbside recycling program began July 17, and City staff has learned a lot with the program’s first four collection weeks.
“It’s a learning process. One of the things we’ve learned is that we still need to educate the residents on what is acceptable and more importantly what is not acceptable,” Recycling Coordinator Christina Wolf said. “For the most part, everyone has a good general idea of what is acceptable, but we need to do a little more work on our end to make sure we help everyone understand the program.”
In the first four collections, the amount of recyclable material collected has increased every week.
Week 1: 37.17 tons
Week 2: 47.88 tons
Week 3: 49.5 tons
Week 4: 49.87 tons
“In four collections, we’ve kept more than 184 tons of material from being buried in our landfill, and that’s a good thing,” Wolf said. “The numbers are about what we were expecting with the start of a new program. The total keeps going up, so that’s a good sign that residents are creating new habits and that recycling is at the top of their minds.”
Wolf said Dem-Con, the company in Minnesota that accepts and sorts Minot’s recycling materials, will provide the City with the results of a materials capture rate study in October.
“That will help tell us what our contamination rate has been,” Wolf said. “I would say from looking at the loads coming in, our contamination rate is likely running around the 10 percent mark.”
The biggest concern continues to be plastic, especially plastic bags and plastic wrap, and items like shredded paper and styrofoam. And some residents are bagging their recyclables, which isn’t necessary.
“Trash goes in a bag, but recyclables shouldn’t be in a bag,” Wolf said.
There are also random items found in the collections, including a lamp shade and a cooler, that are not recyclable.
“We are trying to make all of our collections for garbage and recycling as simple as possible,” Wolf said. “The program is still very new, and we’ll continue to provide educational information for residents.”