Using a grant from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Redwood County established convenient and affordable rural garbage and recycling drop-off sites that also helped reduce backyard garbage burning.
Establishing drop-off sites
Redwood County covers approximately 881 square miles. Using GIS technology they identified four townships that lacked sufficient recycling and waste collection services: Underwood, Gales, Brookville, and Dehli.
The county staff met with the four township boards and area residents to educate about the health concerns of burning garbage, and to determine if the township would be interested in establishing a collection facility. The county staff spent considerable time locating suitable collection sites where the township and area residents would agree to the proposed usage. Once the locations were identified, and the land use agreements signed, the four sites were prepared for use.
With the assistance of grant money, the county prepared the newly negotiated locations for use. This included clearing, grading, graveling, and adding signage. The county also purchased recycling collection containers. Garbage services went through a competitive bid process with the individual townships paying the cost of the municipal solid waste removal. County staff assumed the responsibility for hauling the recycling roll-off containers with the county’s contracted hauler providing the cardboard collection containers on a regular basis.
The new drop-off facilities would be unstaffed and open for business 24 hours-a-day, 365 days a year. In 2010, it's estimated that each of the four township sites were serviced five to six times over the course of the year.
Cost and convenience
From an access and affordability point of view, the project continues to be an overwhelming success providing residents with convenient garbage drop-off collection service within a 3-mile radius at costs ranging from a $1.54 to $3.00 per month as opposed to individual waste hauler service averaging $41.00 per month for a standard 1½ yard dumpster.
The 2010 monthly cost for service, the volume of municipal solid waste (MSW) collected (minus recyclables), and the breakdown per household are shown below:
|Township||Households served||Waste collected in cubic yards||Drop-off site cost||Cost per household||Household waste generated
in cubic yards
Corrugated cardboard is collected in the six-yard containers and serviced every two weeks by the county’s contracted hauler. The type and amount of material collected at all four sites during 2010 are shown below.
- Mixed paper: 23 tons
- Paper and glass: 14 tons
- Aluminum and steel: 14 tons
- Corrugated cardboard: 22 tons
Because the drop-off sites were unstaffed, county and township staff anticipated potential problems with improper disposal such as tires, electronics, and appliances however that problem was not as big as anticipated.
Economic and environmental impact
The impact that this project has had on the number of households who gave up their habit of burning garbage continues to grow as greater amounts of garbage and recyclables are brought to the four sites each month by residents. To be sure, 239 tons of garbage and recyclables were properly disposed of or recycled in a convenient and affordable manner eliminating the need and harmful of effects residential on-site burning. Community support has been overwhelming and interest from other township boards continue to grow.
Brian Sams, Recycling Coordinator