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Mower County board to vote on single-sort recycling

AUSTIN — The Mower County Board of Commissioners expects to vote on whether to switch over to single-sort recycling by Aug. 25.

At that time, board members will decide to accept or reject a bid for a recycling program and public input from an online survey will play a part in determining the county's action, said Mower County Coordinator Craig Oscarson. The survey closes Aug. 21.

"It gives us a couple days to compile results and send them to the board," Oscarson said. "We probably might take a look at other ways of improving participation in our current program."

Gauging the cost-effectiveness of single-sort is difficult. Depending on how the public votes, it might be possible that single-sort recycling be picked up curb-side or there could be residential curb-side pickup and drop-off sites. The current system — pre-sorted, curb-side pickup — still remains on the table.

With single-sort, annual fees, paid through property taxes, are projected to increase to $65 annually. That means costs would rise from $4 to $6 per month .


However, is it generally expected that single-sort would be better for the environment because it would bring in a higher volume of recyclables and more types of plastic would be accepted —meaning a smaller amount of materials ending up in landfills.

Responses about whether to switch to single-sort have been mixed, both from the public and the Mower County Board of Commissioners.

"The (board) chair wanted to get another piece of data, one commissioner got 200 emails in the last week or two, same amount of phone calls for and against (single-sort)," Oscarson said.

Other surrounding counties' participation in single-sort has been successful. Freeborn County's recycling volume increased to 75 percent, Oscarson said.

"It's an easier system to use," he said. "It's kind of philosophical: what are you willing to pay to have a positive impact on the environment?"

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