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$70K county grant aids recycling at Bielenberg Sports Center

Too much waste is going to waste at Bielenberg Sports Center.

Mixed in with the tons of trash generated at the busy sports complex are materials that could either be recycled or composted.

But the city of Woodbury will upgrade its outdoor recycling operations with some financial assistance from the county.

At their Sept. 27 meeting, the Washington County board of commissioners approved a $70,000 recycling grant. The money will help pay for 87 new outdoor double and triple bins at Bielenberg. New educational and promotional material will also be posted.

The total cost of the project is $83,521.90. Woodbury's share of the tab is $13,521.90.

The county helps cities and businesses pay for recycling programs as part of their Washington County Solid Waste Management Plan. Money for the grant comes from the County Environmental Charge, which is a 35 percent fee paid by residents and businesses who use garbage collection services.

The new receptacles are intended to improve separation at the source, before the trash is shipped to the Recycling and Energy Center in Newport.

The bins include 10 triple containers marked waste, recyclable or organic, will be installed, along with 77 double or two-stream stations, marked "recycling" and "waste."

In June, the city hired a private contractor conducted a "waste sort" of the outdoor receptacles at Bielenberg. The company, MN Waste Wise, combed through 2,213 pounds of trash and discovered that 33 percent of the total could have been recycled. Twelve percent of the contents could have been composted.

Woodbury installed 3-stream bins indoors at Bielenberg after an indoor waste sort was completed in December of 2015.

All public entities are required to manage their waste according to the county's master plan, Washington County Public Health and Environment's Judy Hunter said. The state mandate is that counties divert 75 percent of solid materials away from landfills by 2030.

Once the bins have been installed, another waste sort will be conducted in December to gauge their effectiveness.

William Loeffler

William Loeffler is a playwright and journalist from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He worked 15 years writing features for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He has also written travel stories based on his trips to all seven continents. He and his wife, Michelle, ran the Boston Marathon in 2009. 

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