Waste and recycling haulers in Ramsey and Washington counties in Minnesota will soon be required bring all the waste they have collected to the Ramsey/Washington Recycling and Energy Center in Newport, Minnesota.
According to a report in the South Washington County Bulletin, currently a portion of collected waste is taken to landfills by haulers. Under the amendment, recently passed by the Washington County Board, haulers must take all the waste into the recycling and energy center rather than to a landfill.
According to the article, the bump in volume at the recycling and energy center likely will mean waste from surrounding counties entering the facility will increase. Judy Hunter of the Washington County Public Health and Environment Division says the move is to ensure all waste after recycling from the two counties would be processed. Nonrecyclable material will be combusted.
These changes, Hunter told the newspaper, have been in the works since the Washington and Ramsey jointly acquired the facility. Haulers have already been notified of the change, and recycling at the facility is expected to increase.
According to a Washington County news release, the Washington County Board of Commissioners conducted a public hearing Sept. 12, 2017, to gather testimony on a county ordinance for waste designation. No residents spoke at the hearing. After the hearing was closed, the board adopted the ordinance.
The news release explains that waste designation is used in Minnesota law to allow counties to require all or a portion of solid waste to be delivered to a designated waste management facility. Designation relates to what happens to waste after it is collected – it does not affect who collects the trash or when it is collected.
Ramsey and Washington counties have submitted amendments to their respective solid waste master plans, and a joint waste designation plan was approved by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency last year. The two counties have determined that designation is necessary to ensure that acceptable waste from the counties is managed in a manner that ranks higher on the state's waste management hierarchy. The Ramsey/Washington Recycling & Energy Board (R&E Board) and the counties have invested a significant amount of time and capital developing a comprehensive waste management program.
The R&E Board and the counties aim to designate waste to assure management of waste in accordance with the hierarchy, and to have certainty of a long-term supply, as well as flexibility to continue to improve upon the regional waste management system over time as new technologies or opportunities arise. State law requires, as part of the process to implement designation, a period of time to implement waste designation. Entering into negotiated waste delivery agreements with waste haulers for the voluntary delivery of all acceptable waste generated in the two counties is a preferred way to achieve more certain deliveries to the Ramsey/Washington Recycling & Energy Center.
Waste designation is scheduled to go into effect Jan. 1, 2018.