Executive Directors: Phase Recycling On The Right Track After Initial Hurdles
Six months after its inception, the Phase Recycling Program in Pine County appears to be moving in the right direction, says its executive directors. Tuesday, Selina Laursen and Tim Schmutzer addressed the Pine County Board on the status of the program that started in the county January 1st.
Laursen called the first half-year “a learning experience,” and said the biggest hurdle has been keeping garbage out of the recycling sheds. Phase reports that they are taking in over 700 pounds of garbage per day, including household garbage, animal carcasses, knives and needles.
Laursen stated that the sites with the most recycling, also see the most amount of garbage, including in Pine City, Hinckley, and Willow River. She said the worst problem with garbage is in Brook Park, where over a thousand pounds were found in one day.
Laursen adds that she expects improvements over the next six months.
There are 24 sheds throughout the county. Every board member commended Phase’s work. Commissioner Steve Chaffee said he uses the recycling shed in Hinckley on a regular basis, and said he is pleased with the facility. Commissioner Steve Hallan credited them with bringing jobs to the area. Phase currently employs 23 individuals, and Laursen expects up to five more jobs to open in the near future.
Commissioners Steve Hallan:
Hallan also referenced the state of the economy as the reason for the high amounts of garbage. He said people are likely using the recycling sites to avoid having to pay garbage bills.
The County Board agreed to take action against individuals that are dumping garbage in the recycling sheds, including warnings and possible prosecution.
Laursen said another issue facing Phase, is businesses using the sites as drop off for recycling. She said that a bar in Finlayson dropped off over 700 pounds of glass one day, which filled the shed.
The board discussed setting up possible business-specific drop off areas.
Schmutzer says Phase is pursing options to become more efficient, which he hopes will allow more oversight of the recycling sheds:
Schmutzer on possible changes:
The board said they support the rerouting option in Sandstone. Pine County Coordinator, Mark LeBrun said by moving the recycling to more central locations, the sheds can be cleaned more often, and predicts they will be less over crowded.