Recycle Smarter, Not Harder, with Tips from NDSU

NDSU is taking on a new challenge: Teaching the metro the best way to recycle.

FARGO, ND – According to the experts, the FM Metro is doing a fantastic job at recycling. But they think we can do even better.

“People really want to recycle; we want to kind of reverse some of the damage we are doing with all the production of waste.” said Kate Nelson DeShaw, the Chair of the Environmental Sustainability Committee at NDSU.

MinnKota Recycling Services say that the metro currently has an average contamination rate of 10%, where other larger metros average 40%.

“Your bottles, tubs, and jugs; Rinse them out, put the caps back on them, and throw them in the bin.” said Mary Aldrich, a Sales Manager for MinnKota.

On average, recycling services pay $45 per ton of recyclables to properly reprocess them. With a higher contamination rate, that price skyrockets, and the cost is re–distributed to households.

Unsustainable recycling practices, contaminated recyclables, as well as China’s National Sword program, a policy that bans 99% of recycling imports to the country, are contributing to skyrocketing prices, and the city of Fargo may see the cost of the recycling program increase from $3 a month to $4 a month.

That’s why NDSU has started the Environmental Sustainability Committee.

“The focus is to spread the word about better sustainability practices. We want to make NDSU a really sustainable campus.”

The committee’s top tips:

Recycle your plastic bags at the grocery store, never recycle Ziploc bags, coffee cups, or Styrofoam, and always find a way to reuse plastics.

“You can reuse a lot of products that come across. A lot of the single use containers, reuse them before you toss them in the bin. Reuse that bag.” said Mary.

The committee at NDSU says that on average people will use 200 plastic bags per year, and 18% of their recycling is either unusable or contaminated.

Part of the panel focused on addressing recycling issues with apartment complexes. The city of Fargo says that as a renter, it’s important to know the locations of the 24 recycling drop boxes they offer, and find the one nearest you.

The group acknowledged that it may be difficult to identify all of the undesirable items that recycling services hate to see, but encouraged attendees with one final piece of advice:

“The bottom line: When in doubt, throw it out.” said Aldrich.

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