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Medora may abandon recycling program

Medora likes being green, but it may cost more green than it wants to pay.

The town city council will possibly decide tonight whether to stick with a popular recycling program, or take it all to the landfill.

Mayor Doug Ellison said the town was notified by Waste Management that the town will have to pay $130 a ton to bring in its recyclables. Until now, there hadn’t been a fee.

The mayor said the news is disheartening because the program was doing well in town and more and more people liked being able to bring in paper, glass, aluminum and other products and keep them out of their household garbage.

The upside to the town is that it handles less garbage, Ellison said.

Still, the recycling program has always had its opponents and with the news that what had been free will now cost money, Ellison said he isn’t sure it will stand.

“I’m afraid this will kill our program,” he said.

Waste Management’s spokeswoman Julie Ketchum said the fee is going into effect because Medora is an outlier to the recycling contract the company has with Bismarck. Waste Management handles Bismarck’s curbside recycling and leases a city building at the landfill to manage the program.

“The contract covers Bismarck residents, but it does not include other cities,” she said.

Ketchum said Waste Management has its own costs, which include handling the materials at the Bismarck site, transportation to the processing plant in the Twin Cities and costs to process.

She said some materials, such as glass, are a negative, and the company pays the processor to take them. Others, such as aluminum, have a dependable value.

“Recycling does cost money,” she said.

In Medora, volunteer Wally Owen said he’d hate to see the town lose access to recycling.

“It has been growing steadily. Now if it’s unaffordable, we can’t justify it,” said Owen, explaining the town has a one-ton load twice a month during the summer and one ton every couple of months in the off-season.

(Reach Lauren Donovan at 701-220-5511 or lauren@westriv.com.)

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