Anoka County is boosting recycling efforts

Anoka County, in partnership with its communities, is aiming to ramp up recycling programs.

Using the state SCORE (Select Committee on Recycling and Environment) dollars it receives, the Anoka County Board has approved allocations to its 21 municipalities using a formula based on latest population and household estimates from the Metropolitan Council.

The allocations comes in two installments and the second payment in the past has been dependent on state funding being renewed by the Minnesota Legislature.

But that’s not the case in the latest round of funding approved by the board Nov. 27.

According to Carolyn Smith, county solid waste abatement specialist, the second allocation won’t depend on state funding in the spring of 2013, but rather will be take from county reserves if the state does not provide the money.

The allocations to the cities are made in the form of reimbursement, Smith said.

“They have to spent it to get it,” she said.

But the county had found that cities had been delaying projects without knowing if the state would fund the second payment, which prompted the county to use reserve funds to ensure that the cities receive their full allocation, Smith said.

In addition, additional recycling dollars have been set aside for enhancement projects using state local recycling development grant (LRDG) funds and other budgeted program funds, she wrote in a report to the county board.

This money would be used for problem materials and yard waste/organics recycling and some money may be allocated to non-residential recycling if previous year achievement goals are met, she wrote.

According to Smith, the enhancement dollars would be available to each municipality on a $1 per household basis.

In addition to the base amount, extra funding would be available to cities in 2013 for community recycling events, municipal park recycling and monthly and full-service drop-off centers, Smith said.

“The county has given cities recycling containers to use in parks,” she said.

According to Smith, the 2013 municipal recycling goal is 185 pounds per person for single-family households (up to four units) and 175 pounds per person for multi-family households (five units or more).

This is the first time that there have been separate tonnage goals for single-family and multi-family residential units, Smith said.

“The goals have been set to reflect the difference between single-family and multi-family housing,” she said.

It is more of a challenge to recycle at multi-family housing because there are fewer people per unit and they are a mobile population, Smith said.

In addition, some cities with larger numbers of multi-family housing have felt the tonnage goals were unfair, she said.

The funding program approved by the board is an effort to provide flexibility in meeting the county’s long-term recycling goals, according to Smith.

Right now, the county recycles about 50 percent of its waste, but that includes credit for source reduction and composting, Smith said.

“We really recycle 42 percent of the waste,” she said.

The county’s recycling master plan has a target of 60 percent recycling without credits for source reduction and composting by 2030, Smith said.

“That’s not going to be easy and to achieve that we need to be flexible,” she said.

According to County Commissioner Jim Kordiak, chairman of the board’s Waste Management and Energy Committee, the county and its municipalities have worked very well together since the SCORE program began in 1990 to improve residential recycling in the county.

But to meet the long-term goals the county and its municipalities “need new, creative and better ways to recycle,” Kordiak said.

“Our goal is to expand the range of recycling opportunities,” he said.

The base allocations to municipalities have a fixed amount of $10,000 for each community plus $5 per household.

The total allocation has been pegged at $820,755, but a document presented to the county board show potential 2013 allocations totaling $1,368,906 when enhancement grants, which could amount to $122,151, as well as dollars for community recycling events, municipal park recycling and full-service and monthly drop-off recycling centers are factored in.

Following are the allocations for municipalities based on the county formula:

• Andover $59,405.

• Anoka $45,525.

• Bethel $10,870.

• Blaine $116,930.

• Centerville $16,600.

• Circle Pines $20,045.

• Columbia Heights $49,865.

• Columbus $17,085.

• Coon Rapids $128,005.

• East Bethel $30,660.

• Fridley $65,935.

• Ham Lake $35,975.

• Hilltop $11,895.

• Lexington $13,930.

• Lino Lakes $41,375.

• Linwood $19,466.

• Nowthen $17,270.

• Oak Grove $23,750.

• Ramsey $50,505.

• St. Francis $23,015.

• Spring Lake Park $22,655.

Peter Bodley is at [email protected]