Recycling center expansion proposed by Coon Rapids

Expansion of the Coon Rapids Recycling Center has been given the green light by the Coon Rapids City Council.

In approving the 2013 residential recycling contract with Anoka County, which distributes state SCORE (Select Committee on Recycling and Environment) dollars to its communities, the council embraced a recommendation from Recycling Coordinator Colleen Sinclair to seek more state SCORE funding from the county.

One of Sinclair’s goals is to have the recycling center open five days a week in 2014 instead of the current two – Wednesdays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Anoka County has developed a new way of dividing its state grant allocation among participating cities and is offering additional funding opportunities for increased services, according to Sinclair.

Recycling tonnage requirements will be increasing aggressively to meet new goals set by the county as part of its 2030 comprehensive plan, Sinclair wrote in a report to the council.

According to Carolyn Smith, county solid waste abatement specialist, the county recycles 42 percent of its waste, but the county’s recycling master plan has a target of 60 percent recycled by 2030.

Under the county’s 2013 allocation, the cities will still get a lump sum based on population and household estimates from the Metropolitan Council, but additional dollars using state local recycling development grant (LDRG) funds and other budgeted program dollars have been set aside for enhancement projects, Smith said.

The enhancement dollars are be available to each municipality on a $1 per household basis.

The new dollars enable cities to apply for funds on an annual basis based on needs and plans unique to each community, Sinclair said.

“The Coon Rapids Recycling Center has become well known locally and within the state for its progressive approach and wide range of available options,” she said.

Already this year, mattress collection has been expanded in hours from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. the first Saturday of the month, appliance and electronic collection is now every Saturday and paper shredding has also been added the first Saturday of each month from 9 a.m. to noon; all of these are year-round, according to Sinclair.

For 2013, Sinclair recommended and the council approved a funding request to the county totaling $178,919, which would include the base SCORE allocation of $125,005 plus $15,000 for monthly special events and drop-off.

In addition, there would be $6,000 set aside for a recycling in the parks program plus $23,601 in enhancement grant dollars.

The enhancement program would include additional promotion efforts, boosting recycling in multi-unit housing and the addition of an organics food waste project.

The proposal also includes increasing Sinclair’s hours from part-time to full-time and adding a part-time 20-hour assistant in the fall of 2013.

According to Sinclair, this would enable an aggressive campaign to begin to market the move to a five-day-a-week operating plan for the recycling center to start in January 2014.

Under Sinclair’s recommendation, the 2014 budget would grow to $202,606 with the recycling center open five days a week.

All costs associated with the proposed expansion of both recycling center hours and services would be covered by the county’s funding options.

But the proposals recommended by Sinclair and approved by the council need the county’s blessing.

The Coon Rapids Recycling Center is located at 1831 111th Ave. N.W., and is a drop off center for the residents of Coon Rapids and Anoka County only.

Peter Bodley is at [email protected]