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City eyes grant to build $2.6 million recycling facility to replace Mitchell's existing sorting site

City officials say the existing recycling facility where crews sort recycling items before hauling loads over to Sioux Falls is in “poor condition.”

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A Mitchell recycling truck unloads material at the Mitchell Recycling Center in the southeast corner of the city in the summer of 2020.
(Marcus Traxler / Republic)
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MITCHELL — The city is inching closer to building a new multimillion-dollar recycling facility.

On Monday, the Mitchell City Council will consider authorizing an application for a grant to help fund the construction of the recycling facility that’s estimated to cost $2.68 million.

According to Public Works Director Joe Schroeder’s memo to the council, the existing recycling facility where crews sort through piles of recycled items before hauling loads over to Sioux Falls is in “poor condition.”

Schroeder noted the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources' (DANR) Solid Waste Management grant, if awarded, would cover roughly 30% of the project costs. The city’s share of the project is estimated to cost $1.8 million.

The new facility would be built near the Mitchell Regional Landfill, located on the south edge of Mitchell.

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It’s been two years since the city revamped its recycling program, which entailed switching from a private contractor to the city taking on Mitchell’s recycling responsibilities.

The change rolled out a new single-stream mixed recycling format, which allowed paper products, cardboard, plastic bottles and jugs, metal cans and glass jars and bottles to all be placed together in a bin, provided they are empty and rinsed. City residents also got larger containers in which they could place recyclables. Before rolling out the larger bins equipped with wheels, city residents had much smaller bins provided by Dependable Sanitation — the company the city utilized prior to the switch in 2020.

As part of the switch, it required the city to utilize a facility for sorting recyclables. When the crews sort through the recycled items at the facility, loads are then hauled to Millennium Recycling in Sioux Falls — a company the city has a contract with to take the city’s recycled waste.

Former Public Works Director Kyle Croce led the recycling revamp, a move he said was aimed at increasing recycling participation. While city officials said residential recycling drastically increased since the single-stream change, commercial recycling has lagged behind.

In the first year of operation, the tonnage of commercial recycling collected by the city dipped by about 600 tons. However, that doesn’t account for the tonnage some private sanitation companies collect like Miedema Sanitation, which saw an increase in the volume of commercial recycling tonnage it collected in the first year the city made the switch.

Sam Fosness joined the Mitchell Republic in May 2018. He was raised in Mitchell, S.D., and graduated from Mitchell High School. He continued his education at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, where he graduated in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in English. During his time in college, Fosness worked as a news and sports reporter for The Volante newspaper.
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