WILKINSON TOWNSHIP — Recycling, as well as confusion about what can be recycled, is on the rise in Cass County.

Environmental Services Director John Ringle was on hand at the Tuesday, July 21, Cass County Board Meeting to give an update on recycling operations in Cass County.

Ringle stated that with recent developments regarding use and operation of the county-managed recycling drop-off sites there has been some confusion and concern by residents. It was stated that county taxpayers pay an annual solid waste assessment with their property tax that offsets the cost of recycling, which allows taxpayers to dispose of recyclable material at no cost.

Currently taxpayers can recycle metal cans, plastic bottles and other recyclable plastic, glass jars and bottles, cardboard and paper. Taxpayers can also dispose of used electronics, appliances and up to four auto tires per month at county transfer sites. Most household hazardous waste can be disposed of at various community collection events held annually, which is all paid for with the solid waste assessment.

Due to current COVID-19 concerns and restrictions, there has been a dramatic increase of approximately 22% in recycling since April 2020, which has also caused a dramatic increase in contamination with people trying to recycle Styrofoam, garden hoses, wires, broken lawn chairs and children’s toys. There has also been people leaving regular household garbage around the bins, which is costing the county additional money to clean up these areas.

Cass County has approximately 25 remote recycling sites with a few locations requesting to have the bins removed. Recently the city of Cass Lake requested bins be removed from its location as there was too much garbage being placed around the bins and it was causing extra work for city employees having to clean up the area.

With this recent request Ringle has been in discussion with the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe to provide recycling for Cass Lake residents at the Leech Lake Transfer Station. He stated that an agreement had been made to allow county residents to bring in recycling. Along with this agreement county residents that are not Band members can purchase a punch card for garbage drop off. This site will be supervised and is open six days per week from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.