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Helmut Schmidt, Published October 28 2009

Fargo recycling exceeds expectations

Fargo’s new trash collection system has boosted recycling, cut waste going into the landfill, and it should lower workers’ injury rates, the city’s solid waste utility manager said Tuesday.

Residential solid waste is down 15 to 20 percent since automated garbage pickup started Sept. 14, Terry Ludlum said.

Meanwhile, curbside recycling has boosted overall recycling more than 23 percent, Ludlum said.

That means 64 to 81.5 fewer tons of garbage a week in the landfill, with recycling up 30 to 35 tons a week, Ludlum said.

“Overall, we think every resident recycles about 30 percent of their waste. That’s excellent. That’s above national norms,” Ludlum said.

The city hoped for 50 percent participation in the program, but got 70 to 75 percent, he said.

Workers haven’t had to lift the 327 to 347 tons of garbage generated a week, thanks to the automated lift trucks. That should mean fewer injuries and lower workers’ compensation costs, he said.

Ludlum said the city will now try to increase recycling for commercial accounts, which include apartment complexes.

The city also wants to broaden its recycling, including more plastics and boxboard (cereal boxes, shoe boxes, etc.), he said.

Ludlum cautions homeowners to get garbage to the curb by 8 a.m. because

Readers can reach Forum reporter Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583