Hats off to our local recycling readers, your response to our last article was amazing and gives hope to the future. The last article covered recycling or no recycling at local gas stations, holiday lights recycling and confusion in plastic recycling, so in the spirit of spring planting season — let’s plow that ground a little bit more.

Yes, it’s true, some of the materials in between the gas pumps does not get recycled. We encourage folks to support the stations that have a dedicated container for our bottles and cans. Some convenience stores simply do not have the room to offer additional recycling containers. Some stations only have room for a cardboard recycling dumpster and a trash dumpster behind the store. This is something that should be consider when building new convenience stations.

The same holds true for apartment buildings, recycling program managers have had past decades of trials and failures to improve recycling at apartment buildings, and it’s really a product of design or lack thereof. When building or growing our communities, we need to design in room for recycling and think of the best or most convenient way for people to recycle, as well as accommodate for future changes. The recycling industry is evolving as a whole, just like the computer industry, and so we must be nimble and open minded to adjust to changes.

It was Earth Day last week, and we ran ads about recycling appliances and electronics for only $5. We did not offer any public activities due to COVID still being active. Some local communities sponsored planting pollinator gardens, tree plantings and composting events, which are all great activities.

I want to offer a word of warning from my composting friends about “Jumping Worms”, they might sound fun in a flea circus, but you do not want them, as they are an invasive pest — worse than Japanese Beatles. Please research them more when you have some time and be careful when sharing plants with neighbors or getting mulch from your local compost site or stores. Composting is one of our programs we help regulate, but we do not have as much activity or questions when compared to recycling.

Holiday light recycling — yes, we have set up containers at most of our cities to be dropped off year round. Holiday light strings do not go in the trash, they should not go in your recycling cart, and they should be dropped off at your local city shop. St. Peter residents or anyone can drop them off at the Ace Hardware Store in St. Peter, as they have value and should be recycled.

Plastics Nos. 1, 2 and 5 please. These plastics are in high demand and should be placed in our recycle bins. Residents can take the No. 4 plastic (film) bread bags, celery bags and shopping bags to most of our grocery stores and drop in a container that is clearly marked for them to be placed in. This container is usually located at the front entrance of the store.

Lastly, we have two household hazardous waste collections coming up in May. The first one is in the city of Gibbon at the Sibley County Highway shop on May 20, and the second is in the city of Cleveland at the Le Sueur County Highway shop on May 27. Any resident of Sibley, Le Sueur and Nicollet counties can drop materials off at these events.

Acceptable materials are latex and oil paints, deck or wood stains, cleaners, degreasers, garden or farm chemicals, used oil or old gas, aerosols cans, light bulbs and batteries. None of these materials should go in your trash or recycling bins; all should be taken to a hazardous waste facility.

Le Sueur and Nicollet County residents can also drop these materials off at the Blue Earth County hazardous waste facility during posted business hours, and Sibley County residents can drop these materials off at the McLeod or Scott County facilities during business hours.

For a complete list of materials accepted and posted hours, visit us at tricountyrecycling.org or give us a call at 507-381-9196. Make every day Earth Day with Tri County and call us with any disposal needs.

Al Christensen is the Tri-County Solid Waste director, serving Nicollet, Le Sueur and Sibley counties. Reach him at al.christensen@co.nicollet.mn.us.

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