Committee looks at city recycling potential

The City of Minot has no plans to start a curbside recycling program, although it is open to options for reducing the waste entering the city landfill, Minot public works director Dan Jonasson told the Minot City Council’s Public Works and Safety Committee Wednesday.

Jonasson was responding to an inquiry from the committee that was prompted by public interest in a new curbside recycling program in Bismarck. Bismarck instituted a single-sort system in which residents place all their recyclables in a single cart that is picked up every two weeks.

Jonasson said the City of Minot has been recycling white goods such as refrigerators and stoves and collecting yard waste for composting at the landfill. He said he is meeting April 15 with a firm that wants to discuss a potential recycling program at the landfill to sort through household waste that comes in from city residents.

As a regional landfill, the city landfill accepts about 85,000 tons of municipal solid waste a year. Of that, only 15,000 tons comes from Minot city residents. The remainder comes from households in a six-county area.

If 50 percent of Minot residents participated in a curbside recycling program, it would remove about 7,000 tons of household waste a year, or less than 10 percent of the total, Jonasson said. The landfill has 10 to 15 years of life remaining in its existing cells, so cutting collections by 10 percent would add only 1 to 1.5 years to the lifespan, he said.

Recycling also doesn’t pay for itself, Jonasson said.

Bismarck residents who participate in curbside recycling pay $3.81 a month to do so.

“It’s costing $4.95 per resident per month for their recycling program so they are subsidizing it with some of their existing garbage collection fees and with the new fee,” Jonasson said.

Bismarck spent two years and $50,000 on a consultant to study and develop a recycling program, he added.

Minot already has recycling options at KALIX, which takes a variety of household waste delivered to its center in east Minot, and Earth Recycling in west Minot. Jonasson said the city may need to increase its promotion of existing recycling services.