Moorhead Recycling Drop-Off Sites Facing High Contamination Rates
A recycling dumpster for plastic at the Southside drop-off site location that was overflowing with unrecyclable materials, including electronics, toys, and furniture. Due to high contamination, this bin was dumped at the landfill.
MOORHEAD – Contamination and illegal dumping at the drop-off sites has significantly increased in the past 6 months. Contamination results in material being dumped into the landfill instead of being recycled. Illegal dumping increases costs to all of us because the material must be cleaned up and hauled to the landfill by additional crews and equipment. Moorhead currently has four recycling drop-off sites around the City.
• Southside Regional Park, NE corner of 23 St S and 40 Ave S
• Woodlawn Point, 418 Elm St
• Public Works Facility, 700 15 Ave N
• 1321 1 Ave N
The materials collected at each of the drop-off sites include plastic, aluminum, glass, cardboard, newspaper, magazines, and yard waste. Materials are to be clean and placed loosely in the bins (not in plastic bags).
Common contamination issues seen at the drop-off sites:
• Plastic bags filled with recyclables
• Large unrecyclable plastic materials such as kiddie pools, basketball hoops, lawn chairs, etc.
• Styrofoam in cardboard boxes
• Branches in yard waste bins
Impact: Due to the high rates of contamination at all of the drop-off sites, several dumpsters are dumped as garbage each week. On average, dumpsters designated for plastics must be dumped as garbage due to contamination 1-2 times per week at the Southside location.
The recycling drop-off sites account for 275 tons or only 7 percent of Moorhead’s total recycling collected annually. Contamination and illegal dumping are increasing the cost to operate these sites and contribute far less to our recycling program than curbside recycling. The cost of these sites are beginning to outweigh the benefit to the recycling program and to our environment.
Moorhead Public Works Director Steve Moore stated, “The recycling drop-off sites are provided as an added benefit to the residents of Moorhead. We constantly evaluate our operations to provide cost-effective and efficient essential services; however, the misuse of the drop-off sites continues to increase costs and divert labor from other essential services Public Works provides. We need everyone’s help to use these sites responsibly. While the majority of Moorhead residents are great recyclers and contribute to our successful recycling program, there are still users who continue to contaminate the dumpsters and illegally dump garbage and other items. Unfortunately, if the misuse of our recycling sites continues, we will be forced to close these sites.”
Red Cross Urgently Seeks More Volunteers
This fall, more than 200 American Red Cross volunteers from our region joined disaster relief workers from across the country, helping thousands of people whose lives were uprooted by massive back-to-back disasters — the Midwest Derecho, the continuing, relentless wildfires in the west, and multiple hurricanes. Disaster workers are also responding to local home fires and apartment fires, like the one that destroyed 24 units of an apartment complex in north Fargo on October 11.
As we continue to help hundreds of people affected by home fires around our region and significant disasters across the country, plus the complexities of COVID-19, the Red Cross is urgently looking for more volunteers. Our work is just beginning, and we are looking for more compassionate people to provide food, shelter, comfort, and support to those in need.
We are asking people in the Red River Valley and beyond to join our ranks and put on a red vest and turn compassion into action. If you have the time to train and go out on a two-week deployment, you can make a significant impact as a Red Cross volunteer. Our high-priority needs are shelter workers and health services volunteers. Upon return, volunteers can continue to serve our local communities. Additionally, opportunities to virtually support local disaster operations now are available.
This pandemic has impacted almost every aspect of Red Cross services for people in need—But, in the face of these challenges, we quickly adapted our services to continue delivering our lifesaving mission.
From instituting virtual responses to daily disasters like home fires to testing all blood donations for COVID-19 antibodies, the Red Cross remains committed to providing help and hope during this public health emergency.
If you are interested in helping, please go to redcross.org/volunteertoday or call (612) 871-7676 and press 5 to connect to Volunteer Services.
Not only will you help others on their darkest days, you will have one of the most rewarding experiences of your life.
American Red Cross Serving Eastern North Dakota and Northwestern Minnesota