Green Tip – Know Your Local Recycling Policies

EDITOR’S NOTE: EACH TUESDAY MY GREEN SIDE BRINGS SIMPLE TIPS FOR GREEN LIVING TO THE CHRISTOPHER GABRIEL PROGRAM. WE ALSO HIGHLIGHT A FAVORITE GREEN SITE EACH WEEK. YOU CAN STREAM THE SEGMENT AT APPROXIMATELY 1220PM (CENTRAL) EVERY TUESDAY AT WDAY.COM OR, IF YOU’RE IN NORTH DAKOTA OR WESTERN MINNESOTA, LISTEN ON YOUR RADIO AT AM970 WDAY.

GREEN TIP: Become familar with your local recycling policies and prepare your recycling accordingly.MInnKota Recycling

When I was a recent transplant to the Fargo Moorhead area, I was surprised to discovered that nobody in our area recycled paperboard/boxboard (cereal boxes). Thankfully, that has changed and now we’re able to recycle paperboard in our curbside recycling. I think it’s important to always stay on top of what can and can’t be recycled through your area’s recycling programs.

City of Fargo offers free curbside recycling for residents along with 27 drop-off locations throughout Fargo for the collection of recyclables. Twelve of the sites have containers for all recyclables, including yard waste. accept aluminum cans and tin/metal cans. They cannot accept scrap metal, nails, tin foil, aerosol cans (if empty, throw out) or paint cans.

Here’s a look at what is allowable in the City of Fargo’s curbside recycling program:MInnKota Recycling

Cardboard: Corrugated cardboard boxes, brown kraft bags, beverage containers, shoe boxes, cereal and food boxes, chipboard and paperboard.

Plastics: #1-7 Clean plastic container such as soda bottles, milk containers, detergent and shampoo bottles, yogurt & cottage cheese containers, ice cream pails, margarine tubs and vegetable containers. All containers with a recycling symbol of 1-7. REMOVE THE PLASTIC LIDS BEFORE PLACING YOUR BOTTLES IN THE RECYCLING BIN.

The City of Fargo will not accept these plastics:

Styrofoam, beverage cups, trays or fast food containers. Motor oil or antifreeze bottles, plastic bags, shrink wrap, film, toys. These items are not accepted even if they contain a recycling symbol on them.

Newspapers and Magazines: Newspaper, shoppers and anything that is delivered in the newspaper, including glossy inserts. Magazines, small catalogs and similar printed material with glossy pages.

Aluminum and Tin Cans: Aluminum, steel and tin cans.

Glass: Clear, brown and green glass bottles and jars.

For more information about the City of Fargo’s recycling programs, visit http://www.cityoffargo.com/CityInfo/Departments/SolidWaste/Recycling/, for the City of West Fargo, visit http://www.westfargond.gov/ and for the City of Moorhead, visit http://www.ci.moorhead.mn.us/city_services/outside_garbage.asp.

RECYCLING FACTS from the National Resources Defense Council:

  • The U.S. currently recycles 32.5 percent of its waste, compared with about five percent in 1970.
  • According to the EPA, recycling cuts global warming pollution by the equivalent of removing 39.6 million passenger cars from the road.
  • Before 1973, no curbside recycling programs existed in the United States. By 2006, about 8,660 curbside programs had sprouted up across the nation.
  • Less than half of all post-consumer paper discarded in the United States is recovered for recycling.
  • Only 13 percent of water bottles are recycled. In 2005, Americans purchased 30 billion water bottles, and 26 billion of them wound up in landfills.
  • Airports and airlines recycle less than 20 percent of the 425,000 tons of passenger-related waste they produce each year.

Reducing our waste before it becomes recycling or goes to a landfill, is a goal we can all work towards. 

Here are a few tips:

  • Buy products in bulk and bring your own reusable containers to store them in. This eliminates food waste by helping ensure you buy only what you need. This will become even more of an option in our area once the Prairie Roots Food Co-op has a physical store. If you’re not yet a member, visit http://prairie-roots.coop/ and join today!
  • Share or swap items with friends, family and neighbors to avoid unnecessary purchases.
  • Choose products and companies that support sustainability.
  • Focusing on quality over quantity.
  • Have items repaired instead of throwing them away.
  • Set aside unwanted, still-good items for schools, shelters and other organizations that will accept them.
  • Cook from scratch rather than buy packaged foods.
  • Reduce multiple trips to the store by stocking up on essential items, which will save gas and reduce pollution.
  • Avoid disposable items and instead use durable goods such as thermal cups, permanent plates and utensils.
  • Avoid taking freebies that you aren’t going to use.
  • Buy from thrift stores.
  • Before you purchase an item, consider what you’ll do with it’s no longer useful.

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

MinnKota Recycling

MinnKota Recycling is a local company that specializes in multiple material recycling and brokerage services. Their business covers most of North Dakota and Minnesota. While operating five recycling facilities and over 600 commercial accounts in this region, MinnKota has been recognized as the “Best in North Dakota” by the State Department of Health. Major production mills have also recognized MinnKota across the U.S. for their quality materials.

MinnKota Recycling keeps all the materials they collect in the U.S., they don’t ship it out to other countries. For example, their #2 plastics go to Bedford Recycled Plastic Technology, a company in Worthington, MN that manufactures FiberForce Plastic Lumber out of it. Glass goes to Glass Advantage in West Fargo and they tumble it into landscaping rock and other products.

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