Get ready for bi-weekly curbside recycling pickup

Later this morning, residents of Lyon County will find out whether or not County Commissioners will approve a new contract with Southwest Sanitation to pick up recyclables from the curb on a bi-weekly basis.

Of course this will be a change from the weekly curbside pickup that county residents have grown accustomed to for many years. In June, Southwest Sanitation notified the county that they intended to end its recycling pickup contract with the county in September. Southwest Sanitation cited rising costs for the reason to end the contract.

County Commissioners then decided to purchase roll-offs to be placed at different locations in the county and hire a driver to pick them up and deliver them to the recycling processor. After public push back, commissioners held a public hearing and decided to entertain new proposals for curbside pickup.

Lyon County Environmental Administrator Roger Schroeder said the county had received proposals for three different things — a one-month extension of service at county recycling drop sites, curbside recycling pickup, and service at county drop sites.

“The proposals were very well done,” Schroeder told commissioners during the Oct. 2 meeting. He said Southwest Sanitation had the most favorable proposals for curbside and drop-site services, and he recommended the county consider contract negotiations with them for curbside service.

However, the public will not know the specifics of all the proposals by each company until they vote on the contract with Southwest Sanitation this morning. By that time the ink will be dry on a new contract.

Toward the end of the Oct. 1 meeting, Commissioner Charlie Sanow said he wanted to clarify to members of the press that the board didn’t discuss specific costs of the recycling proposals because the county would be negotiating a contract for curbside recycling service.

After the meeting, the Independent did request the details of each proposal, but Lyon County Administrator cited a Minnesota Statute in denying the request.

What we do know is that this contract under consideration today starts on Nov. 1 and continues through April 30, 2021, and its for bi-weekly service that will cost the county $30,716 a month. Bi-weekly, of course, means there will be two weeks out of the month your recycling will not be picked up. Some residents will probably be OK with the bi-weekly service. At least their recyclables will be picked up.

But it’s going to be a burden for others. First, you have to keep track of your week for pickup. And large families will see their recycling containers fill up and overflow. They will have the option to take the access recyclables to one of the roll-offs — but will they take the time out of busy schedules to drive the excess recyclables to a drop-off site? More than likely more potential recyclables will end up in the landfill.

Of course, there is the cost consideration. At a public hearing held by the commissioners on Sept. 30, many residents spoke in favor of paying a little more for curbside pickup. They said it was worth it. But how much more is too much?

Commissioners are tasked with the responsibility to be fiscally responsible with taxpayer money.

So maybe this is the best deal for Lyon County residents. But we will probably not know for sure until commissioners had already voted and the ink is dry on the contract.

Too late for feedback from those who will live with the new contract until 2021.


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