County to help cities meet state recycling targets

Anoka County is continuing its efforts to boost recycling in its municipalities to meet state targets.

This past year, the Anoka County Board approved increased funding to encourage municipalities to ramp up their programs to increase residential recycling.

It’s too early to tell whether that has occurred, according to Brad Fields, county integrated waste management director.

“This is a work in progress,” Fields said.

But the 2014 allocations approved by the county board Nov. 26, on the recommendation of its Waste Management and Energy Committee, to municipalities maintain the funding increase and incentives approved a year ago.

A few tweaks have been made in the program in consultation with municipal recycling coordinators, according to County Commissioner Jim Kordiak, who chairs the Waste Management and Energy Committee.

“They have been very much involved in the process,” Kordiak said.

One change comes in the municipal recycling goal for multi-family households, which increases from 170 to 175 pounds per person for 2014, Fields said.

The 2014 recycling goal for single-family households remains at 190 pounds per person, he said.

Under the county formula, a single-family household includes up to four units – single-family homes, duplexes and quads, according to Fields.

The base funding that all municipalities will receive up front stays the same at a $10,000 lump sum per community plus $5 per household.

But additional recycling incentive dollars which the county launched for 2013 are also available next year.

Those are only paid out on a reimbursement basis by the county once the municipality has accomplished the specific recycling tasks spelled out in its recycling program agreement with the county, Fields said.

These include:

• Monthly drop-off day – $10,000 to municipalities up to 4,999 households and $15,000 to municipalities with 5,000-plus households.

• Full-service recycling drop-off center – $30,000. Only Coon Rapids qualifies for this grant at this time, Fields said.

• Parks and event recycling as well as curbside and multi-unit recycling – $2,000 for municipalities with up to 2,000 households; $4,000 for 2,001 to 4,999 households and $6,000 for over 5,000 households.

• All communities are eligible for a $1 per household enhancement grant for such initiatives as additional recycling promotion campaigns, multi-unit and organic recycling programs.

According to information provided to the county board, the base funding next year will total $824,985, but with the enhancement grants the 2014 budget could reach $1,408,982.

State funding from two sources will pay the bulk of that cost – the Select Committee on Recycling and the Environment) and the Local Recycling Development Grant.

The county’s share is pegged at $319,633, which will come from the solid waste charge that appears on the annual property tax statement of county property owners, Fields said.

According to Fields, 42 percent of the solid waste generated in the county was recycled in 2012.

But the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has mandated that counties must increase their recycling to 45 to 48 percent by 2015, 47 to 51 percent by 2020, 49 to 54 percent by 2025 and 54 to 60 percent by 2030, he said.

There is a potential for penalties, in terms of loss of state funding, if the 2030 goal is not achieved, according to Fields.

But rather than that route, he expects the pollution control agency to work with counties in the coming years to help them achieve the state mandates, Fields said.

Under state law, counties are required to “ensure that residents, including residents of single- and multi-family dwellings have an opportunity to recycle.”

The first state SCORE funding for the residential recycling program in the county was allocated in 1990.

County policy then was and continues to be to allow individual communities to put in place their own recycling programs to meet the needs of their residents.

The money is distributed to the 21 municipalities through an annual residential recycling program agreement the county signs with each municipality.

Base funding totals approved by the Anoka County Board for residential recycling programs in Anoka County’s 21 municipalities.
• Andover $60,030.
• Anoka $45,615.
• Bethel $10,870.
• Blaine $118,790.
• Centerville $16,640.
• Circle Pines $20,200.
• Columbia Heights $50,005.
• Columbus $17,115.
• Coon Rapids $128,400.
• East Bethel $30,165.
• Fridley $66,460.
• Ham Lake $36,165.
• Hilltop $11,985.
• Lexington $13,890.
• Lino Lakes $41,615.
• Linwood $19,515.
• Nowthen $17,310.
• Oak Grove $23,805.
• Ramsey $50,670.
• Spring Lake Park $23,025.
• St. Francis $22,715.

Peter Bodley is at [email protected]