Dunn County residents will be recycling fewer products and collection sites will operate under new hours beginning next year.
The county solid waste and recycling division board approved a new business model proposed by director Morgan Gerk at its meeting Tuesday. Along with new collection site business hours, the program will also no longer be collecting certain non-mandated recyclable products that are being recycled at a financial loss.
Discontinuation of certain items and site hour changes will take effect Jan. 1, 2020.
“”The bottom line is this,” county manager Paul Miller said, “we make a change by reducing our scope and services and reducing our costs or raising our revenue per capita, or some combination, or the program is out of business mid-year next year in 2020.”
The county will be discontinuing the recycling of carrier stock, vinyl siding, polypropylene coroplast and polypropylene woven. Carrier stock includes beer and pop boxes, and pizza boxes, Gerk said. Coroplast is corrugated plastics used in political and real estate yard signs and woven is bird seed and dog food bags.
The county recycling division will be putting together an information campaign soon to provide the public with a better understanding what the county is no longer recycling, Gerk said.
“We’re not going to please everybody with these changes, but overall for the whole group we feel that we’ve got some good solutions in play,” he said.
If you have to get to a collection site on a Saturday when the nearest site isn’t open, you do have the option to go to any of the open sites.
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The county will continue to have one Clean Sweep hazardous material collection day.
The board voted against both increasing per capita fees beyond the initial 2020 budget amount and the termination of grant allocation given to the villages of Colfax and Ridgeland and the city of Menomonie for curbside recycling programs.
David Bartlett, chairman for the town of Sheridan and county board of supervisors chair, said all the municipalities have approved budgets for next year and the county should borrow to make it through 2020. Then higher per capita costs can be planned for.
“The bottom line is $100,000 isn’t that much to borrow for the county to keep it going for a year and we all understand that next year there’s going to be a raise, but we’re going to keep our budgets the way they are now and that’s worth something.”
Per capita fees are still increasing from 2019. For towns and villages participating in the recycling and solid waste, the per capita fee will be $23. This an increase from the 2019 budgeted amount of $19.46, but less than the amended budget fee of $25.39 proposed at Tuesday’s meeting. Gerk said the program has faced more challenging times in the past as the per capita cost was at $30.32 in 1999.
Based upon the county average household size of 2.5 people, the average cost per household for the year would be at $57.50, an increase from 2019 of $6.90.
The town of Sand Creek and city of Menomonie — which only participate in county recycling — are budgeted to increased from $4.40 in 2019 to $6 per capita, or $15 per household.
“Everyone must understand what the true cost of recycling is,” Gerk said.