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Recycling bins being pulled from fire hall

The dropoff recycling bins behind the Nisswa Fire Hall will no longer be available as of July 1, the Nisswa City Council learned Wednesday, June 18.

The main reason is abuse of the program, according to a letter the city received from Nisswa Sanitation, which provides the dropoff recycling service.

Nisswa Sanitation also pulled recycling bins from Pequot Lakes City Hall earlier this month. Nisswa City Clerk Laurie Hemish suggested the council look into requiring haulers within the city's 18 square miles to be licensed and to be required to offer curbside recycling, which is what Pequot Lakes did.

That still would leave area township, Unorganized Territory and seasonal residents who don't have garbage service without the recycling location they have used. Hemish said those residents can still take recyclables to the Crow Wing County Landfill east of Brainerd.

Council member Joe Meyer said he would talk to Waste Management, to see if that company possibly would be interested in providing community recycling bins.

Hemish said Nisswa Sanitation will remove the cardboard and comingled recycling bins, so all that will be left at the fire hall will be an area organization's aluminum can collection bin, oil dropoff site and used clothing collection bin.

The council agreed to put a sign behind the fire hall at a cost of $400 noting the recycling site is closed, material can be taken to the Crow Wing County Landfill and there will be a fine for dumping items there.

According to a letter to the council from Jane Edmundson of Nisswa Sanitation, the growth in recycling has resulted in program abuse that has reached the point where the sanitation company can no longer keep up with demand.

"It is not a matter of needing more money to continue; it involves the amount of manpower the program costs us," Edmundson wrote. "No matter how many containers we provide, we cannot adequately keep up."

For example, she wrote, the three cardboard bins can hold 28 yards and are dumped three times a week. One day, the driver had to pick up an additional 12 yards off the ground.

Edmundson said many boxes aren't flattened, regardless of signs requesting that be done. It's also common to find bags of recycling on the ground next to the co-mingle rolloff boxes, even when those boxes aren't full.

"Some people don't even bother to check the other containers to see if they are empty before leaving their items on the ground," Edmundson wrote. "Additionally, the recycling is often left in plastic bags, which are not accepted by the recycling center. Yet another significant issue is the amount of actual trash left as recycling. Once again there is the cost of dealing with items that cannot be recycled. Unfortunately, these abuses have gotten out of control."

Edmundson said the recycling program has become time consuming for staff to pick up around the area, check the containers and field telephone calls from the public.

Hemish said Nisswa City Hall also receives numerous telephone calls throughout the year regarding recycling complaints.