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McLeod County takes on styrofoam

Our view: County’s efforts in reducing waste streams are commendable

There are a couple of articles this week regarding McLeod County’s solid waste program and its Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) — one is a Chronicle article regarding the MRF’s new equipment for recycling styrofoam, and the other is a news release from the Association of Minnesota Counties (AMC), which acknowledged McLeod County’s innovation in starting to recycle agricultural and other plastics.
The MRF had some controversial beginnings way back in the early 1990s as commissioners and constituents debated whether the county should spend money to build the facility.
Both the solid waste and MRF have grown significantly since then, both in space and the products that are being recycled.
And while the debate continues on whether recycling can best be served by a private business focused on profit or a public entity focused on service, there is no doubt that the MRF has filled a growing need and desire to recycle and reuse as much as possible to keep our landfills from filling and over-filling.
The MRF not only provides a service to its constituents but so far, it has not required any county levy funds to operate. McLeod County is rare in that it does not assess a recycling fee or levy tax dollars to finance its recycling programs. It is financially supported by tip fees at the landfill and from revenue it receives from the sell of its recycled products.
And it’s pretty rare that the MRF will turn down a product that someone wants to recycle. From Christmas lights to fishing line to wine bottle corks to the traditional glass, paper, aluminum and cardboard, the staff at the MRF is pretty dedicated to trying to find new uses for our old stuff.
Most people can support that endeavor. Most seem to support a change from a throw-away society to one that milks every inch of use it can from a product.
As long as the MRF and recycling program continue to operate without the use of tax dollars, we hope it continues to expand, grow, and reduce the waste from our landfills.
— L.C.