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Students get first a city’s new recycling program

Posted: Monday, Apr 8th, 2013

Students at Holy Trinity Catholic School lined up with recyclables during a program featuring Solid Waste Superintendent Dale Fortin on Thursday. Their recyclables will be the first items in the city’s new program set to begin in June. In the next photo, Solid Waste Superintendent Dale Fortin talks with Holy Trinity Catholic School students about Huron’s new recycling program. The children learned what can and cannot be recycled. photos by ROGER LARSEN/PLAINSMAN

HURON – When the blue and yellow recycling containers first begin appearing at Huron curbsides and in the city’s alleys, ready for collection, kids at Holy Trinity Catholic School can say with pride that they were ahead of the game.

Solid Waste Superintendent Dale Fortin, in an ongoing push to educate the public about how the recycling program will work, brought his message to the school on Thursday.

Many in his audience brought sacks filled with recyclables. They will be the first to go in the trailer, eventually headed for the sorting center.

Fortin also brought a wide array of recyclables – ranging from plastic containers to soft drink cans, from newsprint and phone books to junk mail and cardboard.

The kids were a quick study, and it wasn’t long before they were telling Fortin whether the items he was holding up are recyclable or not.

The voluntary, single-stream recycling program got a major boost when the state recently announced it had approved a grant that will pay for half of the city’s startup costs. The City Commission will open bids next week for collection equipment and the recycling containers.

As of Friday, nearly 500 households had signed up for a container. People can sign up at recycle@huronsd.com or by calling 353-8542.

“We’re trying to get a big push to get over 1,000 by the first of June,” Fortin said.

The city wants to be in a position to pick up recyclables on the same day it picks up brown garbage containers and green composting containers at individual residences.

In 1999, there was a gradual start to the city’s new composting program. At first, 568 signed up. That number has grown to more than 3,000.

As with anything new, public education is key to making the recycling program run smoothly. People will also be helped by molded colored graphics on the lid of the containers that will show what items can go in them.

Acceptable items include junk mail, shredded paper placed in transparent bags, plastics such as milk, food and beverage containers; newspapers and magazines, tin and aluminum cans and cardboard.

PVC plastic and plastic toys are not acceptable, nor is glass and Styrofoam.

Glass can cause major problems for sorters if it breaks, and Styrofoam can shed and contaminate an entire container.

People will also be reminded not to put their containers out for collection unless they are at least one-third full because it would not be cost effective in terms of fuel usage.

Cameras in the collection trucks will allow the city to monitor what is being dumped.

The goals, of course, are to reduce the waste stream being trucked to and buried in Pierre’s landfill and to save money.

“That’s where our savings is going to come – in landfill reduction,” Fortin said.

The solid waste department is initially concentrating on getting the program going for houses. Many business owners and apartment dwellers want to be included, and that will come later, he said.

“We’re going to do that,” Fortin said. “It’s just a matter of getting the homes started and next year we’ll see more businesses coming on line.”

At the Holy Trinity presentation, it wasn’t long before the kids were telling Fortin which items are acceptable for recycling and which are not.

He and other city officials are hoping part of their homework for that day, and going forward, was for the children to convince mom and dad to get on board with recycling.

For the complete article see the 04-07-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 04-07-2013 paper.

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