How has Steele County's residential recycling program changed?
Steele County switched to single or no-sort recycling on November 1, 2012, where all recyclable materials may be thrown together. Papers do not need to be placed in paper bags or separated from containers. Single family homes and two to four unit apartment buildings within city limits of one of the four cities of Steele County now use wheeled, recycling carts. Rural recycling drop off sties will all switch to using larger metal containers to hold recyclable materials. The types of materials accepted for recycling has also expanded. Find the list of recyclable materials HERE.
Who can receive a recycling cart?
Every single family dwelling in Blooming Prairie, Ellendale, including Thompson Oaks, Medford, Owatonna and Lazy U Mobile Home Park is eligible to receive a cart. Duplexes, triplexes and four-plexus can receive one cart per unit and churches/mosques within city limits can also receive a maximum of four carts. Larger residential buildings may have different containers, but they will be offered the same single-sort program and service. If you are need of a recycling cart, please call Waste Management in Owatonna at 507-456-4894.
Where and how do I place my cart for pick up?
Roll the cart in front of your home to the end of the driveway every other week on your service day. Place the lid opening toward the street and handle toward the house. Allow for a minimum of three feet between recycling carts and garbage carts. Large corrugated cardboard boxes can be flattened, tied into bundles no more than three feet long by three feet wide by one foot tall and then placed next to your cart.
Are there any changes for rural residents in how or where they can drop off their recyclable materials?
All rural recycling drop off sites have switched to using much larger metal containers vs. carts, as the metal containers hold significantly more volume. Exact locations of drop off sites have changed slightly to accommodate the larger containers, but there will continue to be sites in the same areas as before: Owatonna, Medford, Ellendale, Blooming Prairie, Hope, Meriden and the Steele County Landfill. A map of all locations, along with their addresses may be found HERE.
What do I do if I need a second cart?
Residents will be able to obtain another cart free of charge upon request after initial distribution. Call Waste Management in Owatonna at 507-456-4894.
Will churches be able to recycle at curbside?
YES, as long as the mosque or church sanctuary building is within the city limits of one of the cities of Steele County! When carts were delivered to residents, houses of worship also received carts. Unless a request is received for more or fewer carts, each building will get two carts. Pick up will be at curbside on the same day and with the same every other week frequency as homes in the same neighborhood. Waste Management agreed to provide this additional service to Steele County at no additional charge to the recycling contract.
How are the costs of this program paid?
Steele County’s residential recycling program is funded in several ways. Steele County receives about $90,000 per year from the State of Minnesota called SCORE funds. SCORE money comes from the tax placed on garbage that is landfilled in the state. Under the new recycling contract with Waste Management effective 11-1-12, Steele County receives 50 percent of the sales revenue form materials collected in the residential recycling program after a per ton processing fee is taken from sales revenue. The more people recycle, the more revenue Steele County will receive to fund the program! Finally the largest source of funding for the residential recycling program comes from a special assessment or service fee placed on residential property taxes. Like all property taxes, the assessment is required to be paid by the residential property owner. There is no additional cost to residents to participate in the recycling program, but to get the most value out of your tax dollars, recycle!
Will there be any increase in the special assessment on residential property taxes as a result of this new program?
Yes, the special assessment on 2014 property taxes will increase from the current $38 per year rate for urban households to $42 per year, and from the current $24 per year rate for rural households to $26 per year. The recycling contract price has increased due to the new carts for curbside recycling, the metal containers for rural drop sites, and the transportation and automated sorting costs associated with single stream recycling.
What benefits does Steele County expect with these changes?
By making the recycling program easier to use by switching to larger covered carts on wheels, not requiring any sorting and accepting a wider variety of materials, Steele County hopes to increase its stagnant residential recycling rate. Recycling reduces the tonnage of waste that is buried in Steele County’s landfill, which means the life of this long term trash storage facility will be extended. By recycling more, residents may also reduce their garbage service or request a smaller garbage cart which may reduce garbage disposal costs.
Recycling provides over five times the U.S. jobs over landfilling, greatly reduces the energy needed to manufacture new products versus using virgin materials, cuts air and water pollution created during manufacturing and conserves natural resources.
Can businesses get carts to hold their recycling so they can participate in this curbside program?
NO, not at this time. At present business properties are not charged the special assessment for recycling as are residential properties. Depending on interest, Steele County may explore providing this service to businesses, but many details would need to be finalized prior to Steele County instituting a business recycling program (e.g. who collects the materials, how frequently this would occur and how and how much money businesses would be charged for this).
Where or how can small businesses recycle?
Small businesses may bring the same recyclable materials that residents are able to recycle to a recycling drop off site. Flatten all corrugated cardboard to save space for other users. If businesses have large amounts of materials to recycle, bring them to the Steele County/Waste Management Recycling Center in Owatonna which has more room than other drop sites. For the location and addresses of all rural recycling drop off sites, click HERE. Businesses may also contract with their garbage hauler to add recycling pick up services.