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New baler will help county recycle more styrofoam products

McLeod County’s Solid Waste Department has “always dabbled” in styrofoam recycling, but its bulkiness limited collection of the product.
Now, however, thanks to a $50,000 grant from Resource Recycling Systems, the department has purchased a compressed-air baler that will allow it to increase acceptance of the product.
Sarah Young, solid waste coordinator, said the county has been accepting styrofoam, mostly from commercial businesses, since about 2002 or 2003. But the bulkiness of the product made it difficult to store until there was enough to ship out to a vendor.
With the acquisition of the baler, the department now has the ability to compact the styrofoam into a fraction of its original size, making it easier to store and more acceptable to end-users.
But that doesn’t mean that residents can toss their styrofoam into their recycling carts or drop boxes, Young said. The baler needs large pieces of styrofoam to work properly.
“We find that when it gets thrown into carts, it gets smashed and smushed into such small pieces that we can’t put it into the baler,” said Young. Styrofoam “peanuts” are a particular problem, although the county would prefer that they are recycled rather than being sent to the landfill.
 

Read the full story in the Dec. 14 edition of The McLeod County Chronicle.