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RICE: Recycling and how it works

I heard many comments and had many calls in the past 4 weeks on Recycling and I wanted to share what I have heard. o Recycle bin is too big. o Recycle bin is too small. o Recycle bin needs to have a LID. o I don't want to be forced to pay for rec...

Steve Rice
Mitchell City Councilman Steve Rice speaks at a 2015 City Council meeting. (Daily Republic file photo)

I heard many comments and had many calls in the past 4 weeks on Recycling and I wanted to share what I have heard.

• Recycle bin is too big.

• Recycle bin is too small.

• Recycle bin needs to have a LID.

• I don't want to be forced to pay for recycle if I don't use it.

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• If I recycle it should be a cost savings to me, not an increase.

• How can apartments or multi dwelling units be more effective as I cannot store a 35 to 96 gallon container in my apartment?

• Blue bins blow away - yes they do. Ninety-six gallon city garbage cans also blow away. It just happened in January 2017.

• Dependable Recycling needs to improve customer service.

• I am not sure what can and cannot be recycled.

Sioux Falls example: all private sanitation company pickup; no city garbage service.

Concept: The Landfill Tipping Fee is based on the ratio of recycle to solid landfill waste. Each sanitation company must report the percentage recycle vs. solid waste to the city in order to do business. Each sanitation company has its tipping fees based on the percentage of recycle to solid waste. The citizen pays one fee to the sanitation company. Incentive goes to the sanitation company to persuade customers to recycle so their fee for solid waste and recycle pickup is as low as possible. Higher percent recycle means a lower tipping fee.

Rapid City is promoting a smartphone app to tell you by address the day of pickup, what can be recycled, places to take electronics, drop off locations, recycle concepts and updates to pick-up and holiday schedules.

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Single-stream and source-separated is a non-issue. I don't care how it is sorted. I just want to make sure it is picked up efficiently and as safe as possible.

Comment of, "I just want to throw away anything and the sorter will take care of it. How will they know if I throw in garbage if it is picked up automatically?"- This comment bothers me.

Comment of, "It will end up in Sioux Falls recycle center and if there is garbage in the recycle it will end up in the Sioux Falls Landfill and not the Mitchell Landfill." - This comment bothers me.

From a young worker in town who is totally committed to recycling I received the following: I was taught to Refuse, Return, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle - 5Rs.

• Refuse to purchase items with excessive packaging or packaging that cannot be recycled - this is done in business very frequently.

• Return packaging if possible. Business does this, but it's becoming more common for some home-based products.

• Reduce the use of products - energy is the easiest example.

• Reuse shopping bags are promoted, but could be anything.

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• Recycle - knowledge of what can be recycled and where is important.

The most environmentally conscious household might have the least amount of recycling.

Now some of my thoughts and questions.

Does the city take this 5R view in city and department operations and sourcing options? If not, what can we do as a city to start or promote this view? How much of city-run Corn Palace waste is recycled? Do we even know how much is generated? Can we easily find out? What can the city do to reduce energy use? Do we think of daily operations and procedures with energy waste reduction in mind? Does the City have recycle receptacles in our parks and public spaces?

Tim McGannon provided great examples of the city crushing and reusing asphalt, recycling tires, having compost drop off, etc. These are positive examples of the city reducing landfill waste. What other programs can the city encourage and promote?

Going forward, as a council person, I would like quarterly updates on recycled quantities and city contacts with recycler on complaint notification and resolution. As a city, we need to monitor and enforce compliance to all city contracts. We should not bid, award and forget until we bid again.

Also, going forward, I would like to explore other options for recycling. Concentrate on ease of recycling; community knowledge and the state grant system for Mitchell recycle improvements. It is the correct thing to do and we must do it with efficiency and purpose.

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