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Cass County Board: New equipment, same rules at county recycling center

Plastic bags are an ongoing problem, because people often bring their recyclables to the bins in a plastic bag. ESD asks that everyone dump the recyclables out and take the bags home to put in their own garbage or take to a place where they are accepted for recycling. The reason is items need to be kept loose in these bins before they are shipped to Minneapolis for mechanical sorting. The machine is not designed to remove recyclables from a plastic bag.

WALKER—New blue recycle bins replaced old, rusted green bins at Cass County recycling collection sites this summer, but that does not mean rules have changed on what people can recycle.

These bins now accept commingled recyclables, with a separate bin for paper/cardboard.

The Cass Environmental Service Department issued a plea to recycle bin users to be sure items they put in the bins are clean, approved items for recycling.

Recycling containers are intended to accept clean, non-hazardous, non-contaminated, individual, loose items — no bagged items, ESD staff emphasized. Items not accepted include garbage, fish guts, plastic bags, windows or mirrors, light bulbs, appliances, TVs, fishing poles, plastic pipe, garden hose, motor oil cans, pillows, lumber and ceramics.

The above list are among some of the items recently found in the commingled recycle bins, which caused whole recycle loads to be rejected at the county taxpayers' unnecessary expense, ESD reported.

Plastic bags are an ongoing problem, because people often bring their recyclables to the bins in a plastic bag. ESD asks that everyone dump the recyclables out and take the bags home to put in their own garbage.

The reason is items need to be kept loose in these bins before they are shipped to Minneapolis for mechanical sorting. The machine is not designed to remove recyclables from a plastic bag.

The recyclables must be rinsed clean and free of food or original products to prevent a safety or health risk for the people who operate the sorting machines, ESD staff explained.

What is acceptable for the commingled recycle bins is rinsed clean and empty food, beverage, shampoo, soap or non-hazardous cleaning product containers with recycle numbers on the bottom inside a triangle of No. 1 to No. 7; aluminum, steel and tin cans; and clear, brown or green glass food or beverage containers.

Acceptable paper recycling items include newspaper, mail, magazines, glossy inserts and pamphlets, uncoated paperboard like cereal boxes, uncoated office paper, uncoated corrugated containers/cardboard and telephone books.

Anyone with questions about whether an item is recyclable may call ESD at 218-547-7241.

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