Kandiyohi County single-sort recycling only a few weeks away

The Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners received an update on the fast approaching start of the county's new single-sort recycling program. West Central Sanitation is expecting curbside collections to begin the third week of August. Residents will receive a letter detailing their collection schedule.

Recycling bins have been delivered to thousands of Kandiyohi County residents. Erica Dischino / West Central Tribune

WILLMAR — With nearly 15,000 recycling carts delivered to most households, residents of Kandiyohi County are impatient for recycling collection to start again. County staff and West Central Sanitation are asking for just a little bit more time as the final steps are completed before curbside pickup can begin.

"We are headlong into getting going with our single-sort program," said Gary Geer, county environmental services director. "As of last Friday, all 15,000 carts were delivered."

Geer gave an update on the program to the Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners during its meeting Tuesday.

Despite the carts having been delivered, collection has not started yet. The hope is to have collections begin the third week of August. According to the West Central Sanitation website , all curbside recycling in Kandiyohi County will be automated, single-sort collectin using the 95-gallon carts starting Aug. 17.

Each household either has received or will receive a letter from West Central Sanitation explaining the program and when their collection day will be. Pickup days will vary across the county as there are 12 different routes. A schedule is printed on the back of the letter.


"If you don't turn it over, you won't see the schedule on the backside," said Commissioner Rollie Nissen.

Households living in the 12 cities will have curbside recycling collections every other week. Rural residents' recycling will be picked up curbside every four weeks, or 13 times a year. Apartment buildings larger than four units are not considered residential properties and are not part of the recycling program.

Since the carts have been delivered, both the county and West Central Sanitation have been fielding calls from residents. Many seasonal properties are requesting carts, while there have been some residents asking for the carts to be taken away.

Those with questions or concerns can contact county Recycling Manager Jay Baker at 320-231-3587.

Geer said his office is keeping track of all the special requests, including smaller carts or pickup at garages, and is sharing that information with West Central Sanitation. However, at this time, only curbside pickup will be done and residents must use the 95-gallon cart which is outlined in the agreement between the county and West Central Sanitation.

"With some of those unique requests, we are asking for some patience from the public. We will get the cart situation right and we will land in a good position," Geer said.

When collections do begin, Geer is asking residents to abide by what can be recycled. Three types of plastics (Nos. 1, 2 and 5) are allowed along with cardboard, paper, aluminum and glass. What will not collected includes Styrofoam, food waste, photographs, windows, mirrors, some plastics (Nos. 3, 4, 6 and 7) and plastic bags.

A mailer from the county was sent out, explaining acceptable materials versus what is not. This information can also be found on the lid of the recycling cart and on the county website . If prohibited material is put into the county's recycling, the county could be fined by the material recovery facility where the material is sorted.


"Pay close attention to the acceptable and not acceptable items," Geer said. "If in doubt, throw it out."

The county hopes the new program will entice more residents to participate in recycling which only leads to more positives for the county, especially increasing the lifespan of the county landfill. Discussions about ending the county-run, multi-sort program began in earnest early this year and in May the contract with West Central Sanitation to manage the new single-sort system was approved.

The commissioners know this is a new program and people will have a lot of questions and concerns. They are just asking for understanding and patience as the program begins.

"The bottom line is we all want this to be successful," said Commissioner Steve Ahmann.

Shelby Lindrud is a reporter with the West Central Tribune of Willmar. Her focus areas are arts and entertainment, agriculture, features writing and the Kandiyohi County Board.

She can be reached via email or direct 320-214-4373.

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