Wadena, Otter Tail and Todd counties are again continuing their partnership of a film plastic recycling program.

The program offers farmers an option of having a dumpster on their property for silage plastic and bale wraps. The counties had the program in 2016 with Revolution Plastics, who finished in 2017. The program has continued since 2017 with a lack of staffing and equipment, according to an Otter Tail County news release.

With a Minnesota Pollution Control Agency grant of $232,000, Otter Tail County purchased a front loading garbage truck, and the counties are now agreeing to how the collection program will work. Wadena County commissioners approved the grant agreement on April 6, and Otter Tail and Todd counties approved the agreement in March.

The farmers in the program previously have the original dumpsters, and more dumpsters may be purchased for farmers who are interested. The recycled materials will be picked up on a monthly or bi-monthly basis. The materials are taken to baling sites in Sauk Centre or Detroit Lakes, depending on which is closer.

A part-time truck driver will be hired for the position with an annual cost of about $20-25,000, as assistant solid waste director Zach Fjestad said. The cost will be shared between the counties.

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The counties also pay for the baling costs of $50 per ton. They will likely be billed annually from Otter Tail County. The final costs depend on how many tons are generated.

With the program set to run through June 2023 with the grant, the counties will also be figuring out the system that works best for them, such as how often to pick up the materials.

Additional dumpsters could be added to the counties’ transfer stations as well if people are interested in hauling the materials there themselves. Otter Tail County will have the recycling dumpsters available at their transfer stations.

The accepted materials are:

  • Silage plastic

  • Bale wrap

  • Bunker cover that does not contain nylon mesh or reinforcements (skrim)

  • Boat film/wrap (cords and ropes cut off)

The farmers or property owners are responsible for removing twine, netting, dirt and manure from the materials, as Fjestad said.

The recycled material is used to make trash bags, which are made from post-consumer content, as the release stated.

If you are interested in joining the program, you can contact the Otter Tail solid waste office at 218-998-8950.

Solid Waste financing agreement

A savings update to the Prairie Lakes Municipal Solid Waste Authority finance agreement was also approved. The authority will be refinancing bonds from the 2013-14 expansion project of the Perham Resource Recovery Facility. Wadena County is a 10% owner of the facility.

The lower interest rates available now will save the authority approximately $1.6 million. Fjestad said the 2013 rates were 3.5% and now are 1.7%. The bonds were for a total of $15 million.

The authority will be able to switch to these rates in about a year and a half, when the bond payments can first be paid off. Commissioner Jon Kangas noted a concern of having a high debt over this time period. The authority is making the change now before rates may increase.

The new rates will decrease the yearly bond payments as well as lower operating costs by approximately $160,000 each year, Fjestad said. The refinancing does not affect the length of the bond payments, which are through 2033.