Ramsey and Washington counties look for improved trash management strategies

Ramsey and Washington counties, which work together on trash management, will hold five open houses later this month to discuss proposed improvements.

The goal: “find ways to get more value from trash, while protecting the environment and taxpayers, and growing jobs.”

The Ramsey/Washington County Resource Recovery Project will hold these meetings, all running from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.:

  • April 20, in Room 2317 of Century College, 3300 Century Ave., White Bear Lake. Free parking is available in Lot G.
  • April 21, in the Marsden Room of the Ramsey County Department of Public Works building, 1425 Paul Kirkwold Dr., Arden Hills.
  • April 23, in lower level conference room 14 at the Washington County Government Center, 14949 62 St. N., Stillwater.
  • April 27, in at the Newport City Hall, 596 Seventh Av., Newport. 
  • April 28, in Auditorium A of the Wilder Foundation, 451 Lexington Parkway N., St. Paul.

The counties don’t handle trash collection from homes or businesses; that’s a city or town function. But managing it afterwards is a county job and they’re looking ahead 20 to 30 years on what’s next.

Some of the issues that have been studied:

  • operational improvements at the Newport facility that handles most trash from the two counties, so that it could more efficiently remove accidentally discarded recyclables and, possibly, food waste.
  • new technologies that can derive value for hard-to-separate recyclables and food waste.
  • new technologies to derive greater value from shredded trash that is currently used to make electricity.
  • ownership options that may reduce the price of trash shredding services provided at the privately-owned Newport facility, of which Ramsey and Washington counties are the primary customers.
  • arrangements with local garbage companies that would ensure they continue to dump trash collected from their East Metro customers at the Newport facility. 

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