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Todd County SCWD asks questions about ag bag recycling

Editor's note: Todd County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) provided the following information.

SWCD has no affiliation with any plastic recycling program. However, this service is recognized as a value to citizens and environment. With recent inquiries about this issue, we asked the question, "What is going on?"

Due to declines in farm markets (less farming/less tonnage), the outlook for on-farm plastic pick-up is bleak.

Revolution Plastics remains dedicated to recycling plastics (silage and grain bags, bunker covers, greenhouse films, boat wraps, drip tapes) and will continue to accept approved materials — as long as the material is collected, baled and prepared for shipment at central locations.

While Revolution Plastics is willing to leave on-farm dumpsters in place "on loan" to counties with central locations, they request immediate notification of intent. The challenge for Todd and surrounding counties lies in finding locations, baling systems, and pick-up capacities to replace Revolution. In a pilot run, Pope/Douglas Solid Waste listed footprint size for storage/handling and baler operating capacity as obstacles.

New questions for county officials and citizens include:

• Does Todd County Solid Waste have the capacity to store or bale these materials?

• What are the potential costs to the County and/or local customers for pick-up services and hauling fees to an outside processor?

• Is there feasibility in purchasing our own processing/baling equipment?

• Do these costs counter the detrimental long-term effects of plastic accumulation, illegal burial or burn to the environment?

• How do we prepare to face the first of many business/economic impacts to come as we continue to lose farms?

Al Edenloff

Al Edenloff is the news and opinion page editor for the Echo Press. He was born in Alexandria and lived most of his childhood in Parkers Prairie. He graduated with honors from Moorhead State University with a degree in mass communications, print journalism. He interned at the Echo Press in the summer of 1983 and was hired a year later as a sports reporter. He also worked as a news reporter/photographer. Al is a four-time winner of the Minnesota Newspaper Association's Herman Roe Award, which honors excellence in editorial writing.  

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