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McLeod County receives AMC award for ag plastics recycling

Four outstanding programs from counties across Minnesota were recognized with Association of Minnesota Counties’ (AMC) 2016 County Achievement Awards for exhibiting excellence and innovation in their counties. 2016 AMC President Jack Swanson, a Roseau County commissioner, presented the awards at the association’s annual conference Dec. 5 in Minneapolis. The recipients were nominated by their counties and selected by a committee of county officials, chaired by 2016 AMC First Vice President Gary Hendrickx, a Swift County commissioner.
Among the four awards presented was one to McLeod County for its solid waste department’s agricultural plastic recycling program.
McLeod County has operated a solid waste department since 1999, recently made the transition to single-sort recycling and has continued to be progressive and creative in recycling items that otherwise would go into landfills.
In 2014, in response to environmental concerns with some farmers burning, burying and landfilling the agricultural wrap and bags used to store silage, hay and feed, staff at solid waste saw the need to explore an option for recycling this material. Solid waste staff’s ability to identify a need, propose a solution and through research and networking create a program that is successful and serves as an example for other local governments in and outside of Minnesota is a significant achievement. Working with the Counties of Sibley, Nicollet, LeSueur, Pope and Douglas to collect agricultural wrap and bags, McLeod County will have processed in 2016 enough plastic to save 12,425 cubic yards of landfill space and provided farmers with a better alternative to dispose of agricultural plastic.