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Published November 16 2010

Fargo amps up city recycling efforts

Curbside recycling has seen “tremendous” growth since Fargo started offering it for free last year, and officials said Monday they hope adding more drop sites will have the same effect on businesses and apartment dwellers.

Next year, the city will add sites near the new water tower along 32nd Avenue South west of 42nd Street and at 52nd Avenue South near 45th Street, said Brady Brunsvold, the city’s recycling coordinator.

The drop site at 3201 Broadway also will relocate to the west side of the wastewater treatment plant in north Fargo.

Drop sites opened earlier this year near the Osgood fire station and at the Anderson lift station at 43rd Street and 28th Avenue South.

“What we plan to do by expanding these sites is to really encourage businesses to take advantage of these drop sites,” Brunsvold said, adding that includes apartments and multifamily dwellings.

Brunsvold and others used a news conference Monday to celebrate America Recycles Day and challenge businesses to recycle at a rate that matches the residential recycling participation rate of around 70 percent, Brunsvold said.

Since launching the free citywide curbside recycling program on Sept. 14, 2009, Fargo has diverted more than 3 million pounds of waste from the landfill, Brunsvold said.

In the span of just a few weeks, MinnKota Recycling went from sorting plastic recyclables one or two days a week to doing it daily, sales manager Mary Aldrich said.

Curbside recycling more than doubled from 2008 to 2009 and is projected to nearly double again this year, to 1,375.5 tons.

“We’ve just seen really a tremendous growth in volume,” Aldrich said, adding that residential recycling has had a trickle-down effect to businesses as employees want to continue recycling at work.

About 85 percent of major businesses in Fargo-Moorhead have recycling programs with MinnKota or other private haulers, Aldrich said. Smaller businesses tend to recycle less because many don’t believe their waste is significant, but it adds up, she said.

Fargo’s Holiday Inn, which hosted Monday’s news conference, is taking part in a companywide “Green Engage” initiative and has reduced waste by 12 tons per week by recycling paper, plastic and aluminum, General Manager Michael Prekel said.

The hotel installed a cardboard baler and recycling bins, and will soon have public recycling areas at most of its major entry points and elevator landings, Prekel said.

City Commissioner Mike Williams said the city’s conservation programs have generated more than $2 million in revenue in the past few years and saved on landfill costs.

“North Dakota and Fargo have really made a good example, I think, that conservation is conservative,” he said.

Group to recycle Christmas lights

For the second straight year, the Recycling Association of Minnesota is spearheading a program to recycle Christmas lights.

The “Recycle Your Holidays” program began Monday and runs through the holiday season.

RAM’s goal this year is to recycle more than 200,000 light strands and to encourage Minnesotans to use LED light strands instead, which will save energy, RAM Executive Director Ellen Telander said in a news release.

RAM encourages Minnesotans to drop off their old, broken holiday lights at any participating Ace Hardware or other local participating location during the holiday season.

A list of locations will be available soon at www.recycleminnesota.org.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Mike Nowatzki at (701) 241-5528