Local recycling efforts get boost from the county

Local communities’ recycling programs have received a boost from the Anoka County Board.

The board, on the recommendation of its Waste Management and Energy Committee, approved funding July 24 for eight recycling projects totaling $245,557.94.

This is the second year that the county has used state local recycling development grant dollars to help cities enhance their recycling programs.

“This is a way to support local efforts to meet the county’s recycling goals,” said County Commissioner Jim Kordiak, chairman of the Waste Management and Energy Committee.

The money will be used to expand recycling materials, improve equipment, increase education and in a couple of cases, expand the local recycling centers, according to Kordiak.

Grant applications totaling $273,429 were submitted by eight communities and all were funded to some degree or other, with $50,000 being the maximum grant.

According to Carolyn Smith, county solid waste abatement specialist, matching funds were not required for applications under $50,000, but matching dollars from the municipality of 25 percent were required for an application over the $50,000 threshold, although in-kind staff and other expenses would be eligible as matching funds.

Grant recipients and projects were:

• Andover, $50,000, relocation of recycling center and addition of smaller scale recycling days.

• Anoka, $10,008.20, household recycling promotion and multi-unit bins.

• Blaine, $25,065, three household mailings (new materials, monthly drop-off and general recycling) and adding additional materials to monthly drop-off.

• Columbia Heights, $50,000, phase two of recycling center improvements.

• Coon Rapids, $25,620.74, recycling center improvements phase two.

• East Bethel, $29,210, recycling center equipment improvements.

• Lino Lakes, $25,654, in-house and residential recycling campaign plus monthly drop-off pilot program.

• Ramsey, $30,000, permanent drop-off center analysis.

According to Smith, the primary goals of the program are to increase the amount of material recycled, enhance curbside recycling programs and provide recycling innovation and efficiency of drop-off recycling centers and recycling day events.

A committee comprising Kordiak, Smith, Spring Lake Park Recycling Coordinator Wanda Brown and Oak Grove Recycling Coordinator Sherry Fiskewold reviewed the grant applications.

Grants were awarded competitively according to established guidelines and objectives, Smith wrote in a memo to the Waste Management and Energy Committee.

All 21 communities were eligible to seek grant dollars.

In addition to this residential enhancement grant program, state dollars are disbursed by the county each year to its municipalities for their recycling programs.

And with the money comes tonnage targets set by the state.

The 2012 municipal recycling goal was set at 180 pounds per person per year, up from 175 pounds in 2011, according to Kordiak.

To help the municipalities meet the recycling goals, each one gets a fixed allocation of $10,000, plus $5 per household.

The county received the first of two payments of $407,827 from the state at the end of last year; the second payment came in the spring.

Peter Bodley is at [email protected]