Jon Mitchell, executive director of the Redwood/Renville Regional Material Recovery Facility, listed off a number of recyclable materials that have been facing depressed markets from aluminum to plastics and about everything in between.

“There’s no demand,” he said.

While the markets are very low right now, the reality is that the value for materials that are being collected just is not there and has not been for a long time. So, finding a way to balance an operating budget for a materials recovery facility has been challenging to say the least, and Mitchell said efforts have been exhaustive. 

The program has been experiencing budget issues for some time because recycling revenues are at an all-time low, said Mitchell, adding if no changes were made the budget for 2020 would have an estimated deficit of $244,000.

Mitchell said in previous years the program has tried to cut back in its expenses, but as cost continue to rise and revenues rapidly decline operational changes had to be made.

That is why the Redwood/Renville Regional Solid Waste Authority (RRRSWA) opted to amend its contract with West Central Sanitation, explained Mitchell, adding several proposals were presented during a meeting held last week.

In the end, the RRRSWA board opted to move ahead with a program that will include 2.5 full-time equivalent employees, with the .5 FTE shared with Renville County and its demolition landfill operations.

Mitchell stressed for the residents being served by the program there will not be any noticeable changes, with the exception that they are again going to be able to recycle glass.

Mitchell said the reason why West Central Sanitation will be able to see success is because it operates in a much higher volume of material than the local program could.

Material that comes to the facility will now be compacted with equipment installed by West Central Sanitation. Then that material will be shipped to another location for further processing.

Should things turn around in the future the local program could be restored.