Tri-County held its annual county cleanup collections in all three counties during the month of June, and we are happy to report all were a huge success!

The materials collected were our usual tire, appliance and electronics, and we are happy to report all of these items get recycled. The following is a quick rundown of items collected and amounts.

In electronics, we collected a total of 311,214 pounds within the past 12 months. So that is 155 tons … which is a lot of TVs and electronic waste – (old VCR’s, radios, stereos, fans, etc.) if you think about it. These electronic items contain both good and bad materials – such as copper, aluminum, nickel and even some gold – which are desperately needed in the exploding electric vehicle and renewable energy markets.

These items also contain harmful chemicals, such as lead, mercury and other heavy metals that need to be disposed of properly. Mercury is actually a very valuable metal that is still used for industrial purposes. About 1,793 appliances were collected this past year. We also collected 306 tons of tires this year.

Hats off to our residents who took the time to clean up their properties to properly dispose of these items. If you still have a need to dispose of these items please check out our website for disposal locations or just give us a call and we will be happy to point you in the right direction.

Tri-County is still offering its $5 coupon special for recycling appliances and TVs the rest of 2021. Residents can find our coupon on our county websites and bring their appliances or TVs to our vendors in Mankato or Hutchinson for a reduced price of just $5.

Tires can be disposed of at most local tire service centers for a fee. We also took in mattresses and box springs. Currently, there is no local, affordable facility that de-manufactures them, so they are currently sent to a local landfill. It is our hope that a mattress recycling center will become available in Minnesota in the near future. The Tri-County Board will have a meeting coming up in August, where we will discuss the option of having a fall collection for these items.

County fair season is coming up soon, and we want to give a shout out to all of our county 4-Hers! They have been working hard getting their projects ready for competition and display. They have also been preparing for recycling at their food service buildings, so I wanted to give a heads up to all fair attendants to please be mindful as you dine at these fine dining establishments to locate the recycling containers for bottles and cans only.

It is always a challenge to recycle at our county fairs and the 4-Hers work very hard to provide the opportunity for folks to recycle. No food waste, paper plates or napkins mixed in the bottles and cans please. This same rule holds true for our summer sports events or vacations – that we should be mindful of locating the recycling containers at convenience stores and state parks, making sure to recycle our bottles and cans.

Lastly, we have some quick recycling reminders for our rural recycling locations. Please recycle only Nos. 1, 2 and 5 for our plastics; food and beverage containers — can be plastic, metal or glass; and paper or cardboard products. These cellulose fibers are precious to our local paper and cardboard mills, have great value, and do reduce the amount of trees being cut down each year.

We also need our residents to make sure to break the cardboard boxes down to save room for the next person. When folks do not break the boxes down, it creates overflowing containers and blowing debris in our local neighborhoods.

Some quick do nots are: no batteries, no shredded paper, no hazardous waste, no long wires or cords. No large metal objects, as these items should be taken to a salvage yard. Visit the Nicollet County Waste Wizard for more recycling information; visit the Tri-County website — tricountyrecycling.org — or give us a call at 507-381-9196 for any recycling or disposal needs. Enjoy the county fairs!

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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