The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

November 25, 2012

North Mankato eyes change in trash and recycling

NORTH MANKATO — After years of routinely renewing the garbage/recycling contract with Hansen Sanitation, the North Mankato City Council took a peek this fall at alternatives.

They found that Waste Management, which provides residential trash and recycling services in Mankato, was willing to provide service in North Mankato at $5.65 per household per month — $1.82 less than Hansen. In addition, Waste Management was proposing an option where residents could dump all their recyclables — paper, plastic, cardboard, cans and glass — in a single container.

That single-sort recycling system, to which Mankato intends to switch in 2013, is a marked contrast to the way North Mankato residents are currently required to handle recyclables. Under North Mankato’s rules, residents are asked to put out as many as seven separate grocery bags to hold paper, cans, plastics, brown glass, clear glass, green glass and blue glass.

The council decided, with Jan. 1 fast approaching, to go with Hansen and the strict recycling system for at least one more year. But council members indicated they want to more thoroughly discuss the refuse/recycling contract in coming months.

Larry Biederman of LJP Waste & Recycling, which also made a bid, said he thinks co-mingling of recyclables in a single container is the wave of the future.

“I think it’s here to stay, and I think it’s where the public is demanding it go,” Biederman said.

The carefully separated recyclables produce a better product to sell after collection and result in fewer loads being diverted to the waste stream because of contaminants, said Councilman Bill Schindle. But the city is making recycling more difficult than some residents will accept, which means the recyclables at those households are going straight into the garbage bags anyway.

“People like easy. If it’s easy, they’ll do it,” Schindle said of switching to single-sort recycling. “... Overall, I think it’s going to be a loss in what’s sent to the landfill.”

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