Residents share mixed views on curbside recycling

Jill Schramm/MDN Kirk Opstedahl, center, with Kalix’s Recycling Center explains center operations as Kalix executive director Borgi Beeler listens at left and Minot Public Works Director Dan Jonasson at right. Some city council and staff members visited the center Oct. 15.

From the environmentally conscious to folks who feel the city has better uses for its money, residents spoke up Monday to let the Minot City Council know how they feel about recycling.

The council took public input but made no decision on whether to begin a recycling program. Six people who spoke advised against getting into recycling while twice that many supported the concept.

Opponents of a city recycling program questioned the economics and whether money should instead be spent on a new high school or flood protection.

Resident Frank Schultz questioned whether recycling will produce the gains the city is hoping.

“I can’t see that we are going to do enough to make enough difference,” he said.

Jill Schramm/MDN Minot resident Cindy Sessions speaks to the Minot City Council about the importance of recycling Monday.

“I am not for mandatory recycling, especially single stream, because it is not efficient or effective,” added resident Chris Baker. “It is eyewash. It moves the problem from one place to another. It doesn’t solve it.”

“I don’t live in the flood plain but I would like to see every dollar we get funneled into that project, and let’s get it done,” said resident Mike Huff, who urged the council to put recycling to a citywide vote.

He wasn’t the only one suggesting a vote or poll of the people on recycling, which some council members have previously indicated might be an option. Others supported exploring a partnership with the Kalix Recycling Center in Minot.

Borgi Beeler, executive director for Kalix, said the organization would be interested in discussions with the city if the conversation is about curbside collection of sorted recyclables but not single-stream, which Kalix does not have the ability to accommodate.

“We have 25 years of experience in collecting and processing sorted recyclables. We have relationships with buyers and a reputation for providing a clean, quality product,” Beeler said. “Obviously, we need to focus on the available options and our limited resources and, in my opinion, single-stream recycling could be a great solution and it maybe it will be someday, but right now in the current market, it just isn’t. It’s just not practical.”

Resident Tim Baumann said the city’s estimated $4.50 monthly fee on his garbage bill for curbside recycling is countered by savings in time and fuel to haul recyclables to the recycling center.

“I am happy to pay it because I believe in being responsible stewards of our resources and managers of our resources, but the real value for the cost of $4.50 is the time and effort that I am not spending as a current recycler of goods,” he said.

“If Minot is so concerned with the cost of implementing this, then it would be my suggestion that the city sell its interest in the parking garages and put that money toward recycling,” said resident Brad Magnuson, president of the North Dakota Renewable Energy Caucus.

The council also heard suggestions to include businesses in curbside recycling even though they are served by private, commercial haulers for their regular garbage. The council also took a suggestion to start operations locally to turn cardboard and paper into pellets for wood-burning stoves and to turn plastics into trash bags.

The council will take the input into consideration in making a future decision. In the meantime, people who want to add their comments can contact any of the council members. Contact information can be found on the city’s website at minotnd.org.


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