Otter Tail County commissioners took several steps toward protecting the environment during their Tuesday, Feb. 23 meeting, much of it paid with state or federal funding. A new truck will help recycle the plastic used to wrap boats for the winter and hay bales, and is used in greenhouses, thanks to a $232,000 grant from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. This truck will be shared with Todd and Wadena counties, and the plastic will head to Revolution Plastics in Arkansas.
The truck will help expand the county’s plastics recycling program. The county expects to recycle 30% more film plastic and divert at least 555 tons of film plastic each year from landfills, processing in Perham, or burning.
County officials also want to divert eggshells, old bread and other food waste from its trash system by giving facilities and residents to turn it into compost. Commissioners gave them permission to apply for a grant that would pay for up to 75% of the $224,000 cost of the program. “We’re just really excited about this opportunity,” said Cedar Walters, a public information and education officer. “There is really a lot of potential for reducing landfill space.”
Otter Tail County has no organics recycling program, unlike neighboring Doudglas County. A composting program could turn 200 tons of organic waste annually through 20 pilot sites, including care facilities, schools and grocery stores. The materials could then be turned into fertilizer. It would also offer residents the equipment to turn their own food waste into compost.