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Posted on: June 6, 2018

Recycling in Minot: What's next in the process?

Creating a City of Minot recycling program has drawn public support for the past few years, but no program exists yet.

Where is the City at in the process of developing a recycling program? Jason Sorenson, assistant public works director, said the idea hasn’t been discarded.

“We’re doing a study right now and working with a consultant on a cost analysis of essentially two alternatives: 1: collecting recyclables and shipping them out of Minot. 2: Collecting recyclables, sorting them in Minot, then shipping them out of town,” Sorenson said. “We’ll break it down to cost per ton for both options, and present that information to the City Council. Then we’ll see which direction we want to go in.”

Sorenson said the results of the study could be presented to City Council later this summer so funding could be included in the 2019 budget if City Council members approve.

If the City built its own sorting center, it would have to work with outside firms that would purchase the City’s recyclables, and have someone keep an eye on market prices and other aspects of finding a buyer for the recyclables. If it’s decided that the City should only collect recyclables and use a transfer facility to ship them out of town, that would essentially be the end of the City’s involvement.

Sorenson said design and construction of either a transfer facility or a full sorting and transfer facility would essentially take a year. Under both options, the City would deliver another sanitation cart to residents to use for recycling before the system could be implemented. Under both options, City residents would have their garbage collected once a week and their recyclables collected once per week. Residents wouldn’t be required to sort recyclable material; paper, plastic and other recyclable material would all be placed in the cart on the same day.

Serious discussion about implementing some type of citywide recycling program began in early 2016.

“In February 2016, we talked with a representative from Waste Management to discuss what single sort recycling could look like in Minot,” Sorenson said. “Because of that, we formed an ad hoc committee to analyze recycling to see if it would be a good fit for Minot and to explore some of the options.”

There were several steps taken in 2016 and 2017:

2016: The City Council formed an ad hoc committee to discuss beginning a recycling program in Minot. The committee held several public input meetings.

“It wasn’t really an ad hoc committee that addressed if Minot should create a recycling program, but rather how we should recycle,” Sorenson said. “There was a lot of community support for recycling then and I think there is still a lot of support for recycling.”

2016: Funding was included in 2017 budget to begin automated garbage collection, with an eventual recycling program in mind.

“We held some public input meetings in May 2016. From that, we took steps to implement automated garbage collection because that was the first step toward recycling,” Sorenson said. “Whether it was the City of Minot or an outside contractor doing it, automated collection was always planned as the first step toward recycling.”

2017: Funding was included in initial 2018 City budget for a transfer facility, but the $2.5 million budgeted for the facility was eventually removed by City Council before the budget’s final passage. The Council did leave $250,000 in the budget to design a transfer facility, but that money hasn’t been used.

“Dickinson, Fargo, Bismarck, Grand Forks, Mandan are all doing single sort recycling or will be soon,” Sorenson said. “So I don’t think we’re reinventing the wheel here. A comment I get from members of the public a lot is ‘Why isn’t Minot already recycling?’ ”

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