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Blue Earth council willing to help fund local recycling drop site

By Staff | Nov 24, 2008

The city council of Blue Earth was willing to put its money where its mouth was recently. Here is the story.

Several months ago, Councilman Dick Maher raised a question at a council meeting. He wondered aloud why there no longer was a recycling center in Blue Earth.

The answer was a little unclear. It involved the fact Blue Earth has curbside recycling pickup and doesn’t need to have a drop-off site in the city.

There was more to it, however. There had been a spot at the county fairgrounds in Blue Earth to drop off recyclables.

This location, however, was mainly for rural residents of Blue Earth Township. City residents could use it, but it was funded by and for rural residents.

This location was closed, and rural residents had to go to Guckeen to dump their recycling materials.

Maher thought it was important to have a center back in Blue Earth. His fellow council members agreed.

When it came down to brass tacks, however, City Administrator Kathy Bailey proposed the city levy $5,000 to fund the recycling center. Amazingly, the council voted to do so.

Since the drop-off point is still mainly for rural residents, it was surprising to see the council so strongly supporting it.

Most city residents can simply put their recycle bin out on the curb on pickup days. They pay a small fee for this service.

That fee will be shrinking due to another council vote. The state furnishes SCORE funds to governments to help them underwrite the costs of recycling. Blue Earth has not received those funds in several years.

The city now will fund some of their recycling costs through user fees, and the rest from state reimbursements.

All of this shows a firm commitment to recycling on the part of the city council. We can hope this commitment transfers to the residents of the city.

Many people do recycle. It is especially easy to do with glass and plastic bottles and aluminum cans. These items can simply be put at the curb if you live in the city, or hauled to town if you live in the country.

Not so easy are other items such as household hazardous wastes, old computers and televisions, and fluorescent light bulbs.

Those items have to go to a center in Truman, according to Billeye Rabbe, Solid Waste Coordinator for Faribault and Martin Counties.

Her mission since 1999 is to educate the public about recycling, and get more and more material out of the waste stream.

She also is very pleased Blue Earth will now have a recycling drop site once again. It was the only city or town in the county which didn’t.

It took a pretty big financial commitment from the city council to make it happen, one they didn’t even flinch making.

The new center is going to be located directly behind the Shell Oil gas station on Highway 169. It will be fenced in on the south side of the building.

Although it is not yet open, it should be soon. Rabbe says they are waiting for Waste Management to drop off the various containers which will be used at the site.

Rabbe stressed that city residents can certainly use the center, as well as rural people.

“If someone in the city misses the Friday pickup, they can certainly bring it to the drop site,” she says. “Or if they have a lot of material to get rid of.”

I remember how some people in the 1970s were first promoting recycling. They felt so much of the garbage going to landfills could be kept out and reused.

At the time, there wasn’t any way to recycle, even if one wanted to. Eventually aluminum cans could be recycled, then newspapers were saved. Eventually, means were found to recycle many products.

The only question was whether the public would support a huge recycling effort.

The answer might have come from Dick Maher and the Blue Earth city council.

They showed they feel it is very important.

People with questions or concerns about solid waste issues can call Rabbe at 507-238-3115 or toll free at 888-283-3110.