Dickinson Recycling Committee meets again
Having not met since June, the Dickinson Recycling Committee held a meeting Tuesday at City Hall to "regroup" and get the green gears turning once more.
"I'd like to see our goals aggressive, yet realistic," said Gene Jackson, a city commissioner and member of the recycling committee.
The resignation of a few solid waste department employees, some of whom served on the Recycling Committee, had an effect on the efforts.
"To say we're short handed on the city side of things is accurate, we are," Jackson said. "But we can't quit trying to do some of these things."
In May, an attempt was made to make it mandatory for residents to compost grass clippings and yard waste, rather than placing them in the landfill, according to a previous Press article.
However, the idea didn't take off.
"I think there were some detail questions from the City Commission about some of the detailed aspects of it and in hindsight, we perhaps didn't think through a couple of those things quite well enough," Jackson said.
The Dickinson Municipal Landfill continues to see grass clippings and yard waste.
"Yard waste remains the same, we are still getting a lot," said Aaron Praus, chief operator for the city's solid waste department.
An estimated 435 tons of yard waste is put into the landfill each year, said Skip Rapp, former public works manager, according to a previous Press article.
About 50 percent of landfill use in the summertime is yard waste and in 2009, about 658 tons of yard waste was taken to the landfill, said Committee Member Jay Greenwood, who received the information from Ron Bachmeier, a former city chief solid waste operator.
Tires will now be sent to Minnesota for recycling after the Dickinson City Commission approved a contract with Liberty Tire Recycling during a meeting Monday evening at City Hall.
It costs $189 per ton to ship tires to Liberty where they are shredded and made into mulch, a reusable product, Praus said.
"That is the major key player right now what we changed thus far for the city," Praus said.
Cardboard is being collected from Baker Boy Bake Shop, Inc., both Dan's Supermarket locations and Prairie Hills Mall, Praus said.
Some residents are also starting to bring the product to the landfill, where it is baled on Wednesdays and then shipped to a facility in St. Paul, Minn., Praus said.
Numerous ideas were tossed around at Tuesday's meeting, but one recycling aficionado said to start small.
"We basically have to walk before we can run," said Jerry Volk, assistant executive director for the North Dakota Solid Waste & Recycling Association.
The Dickinson landfill is the largest municipal landfill in southwest North Dakota and accepts waste from 23 communities, Praus said.
As of the third quarter, the landfill experienced about a 5.5 percent increase in tonnage versus the same time last year, according to city documents.
The 5.5 percent increase equates to approximately 1,500 more tons than last year at this time, Praus said.
Those numbers are just household and construction materials and do not include unit items such as tires and appliances, he said.
Members of the Recycling Committee will be looking into the innards of other city's recycling programs and methods in an effort to develop one for Dickinson.
America Recycles Day is Nov. 15 and the Recycling Committee will meet again on Dec. 6 at noon at City Hall.