WILLMAR — If all goes according to plan, Kandiyohi County's new single-sort recycling program will be up and running prior to Sept. 1.
"They (West Central Sanitation) are anticipating to have a full rollout by Aug. 1, that is their goal," said Gary Geer, county environmental services director at Tuesday's Kandiyohi County Board meeting.
West Central Sanitation, which will operate the new system for the county, hopes to have everything ready before the Sept. 1 deadline written into its contract with the county. The early startup will hinge on the delivery of carts to residents, the purchase of new vehicles and creation of the new routes.
The County Board on Tuesday unanimously approved the five-year contract with West Central Sanitation for the single-sort recycling program.
West Central Sanitation estimates it will provide 14,490 residences with recycling services in the county. Those living in cities will have curbside recycling pickup every other week, while those living in unincorporated areas will be provided monthly curbside pickup. The company will also collect single-sort recyclables at special events upon request.
West Central Sanitation will provide each residence with a 95-gallon container for its recyclables. In a single-sort system, all product can be placed in the same container.
Following pickup, West Central Sanitation will transport the county's recycling to Dem-Con Materials Recovery LLC for processing and sale. In the approved agreement between Dem-Com and the county, Kandiyohi County will be charged $75 per ton by Dem-Con for processing, but will keep 80 percent of the revenue from the sale of the materials.
"The market will ultimately determine if there will be a portion we will be paying into Dem-Con or if the market turns around and ultimately we will be getting a rebate from Dem-Con," Geer said.
The county and West Central Sanitation are doing what they can to get the new system up and running as soon as possible. However, there will still be a couple months while the county will continue to be without a recycling program.
The COVID-19 pandemic shut down the county's multi-sort program and recycling center and it will not reopen. To bridge that gap, the county and West Central Sanitation are trying to come up with a plan to at least provide recycling dropoff locations for residents.
"That is the goal, to have something in place in the very near future," Geer said.
The approval of the new recycling program also required the termination of the recycling agreement with West Central Industries, which was not taken lightly be the commissioners.
"I am very concerned on the impact to West Central Industries," said Commissioner Steve Ahmann.
West Central Industries is a community rehabilitation program serving people with disabilities through support, training and employment.
Clients of WCI have worked in the county recycling center for pretty much all of the past 30 years, where they helped sort the tons of recyclables that were brought to the center every month.
"I want to thank West Central Industries for their partnership over the years, for operating our facility," Geer said.
The commissioners, while supportive of the new program, do hope the county can find new employment for at least some of the West Central Industries clients who lost their jobs at the recycling center.
"So we can help them have gainful employment that gives them satisfaction in life," said Commissioner Rollie Nissen. "They really are hard-working folks over there."