Chisholm to discontinue curbside recycling

A variety of recyclables are collected at the Balkan canister site, located near the Balkan Township Garage on Highway 73 just north of Chisholm.

CHISHOLM — The City of Chisholm is discontinuing its curbside recycling service at the end of the month.

Chisholm City Administrator Bill Manney recently said the decision is a cost saving measure to avoid an increase in the rate the city and its utility customers are paying for recycling.

The city rejected the latest offer made recently by Waste Management, its recycling service provider. Citing a downturn in the recyclables market and increased expenses, the company proposed a 25 percent increase to the rate the city is charged for recycling.

Ideally, city officials would like to have had more time to inform citizens about the change, Manney said, but the decision to discontinue curbside recycling was ultimately made in the best interest of the city and its ratepayers.

As of Feb. 1, the next nearest place for Chisholm residents to dispose of recyclables is at the canister site and recycling center at the Balkan Township Garage. It’s open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.

In recent meetings between Chisholm city staff and representatives from Balkan, city officials have proposed contributing to the expansion of the canister site to accommodate the anticipated influx of recycling from Chisholm. Manney said they are looking at expanding the fenced in area and adding additional recycling containers there.

The city of Chisholm has budgeted $40,000 for recycling in 2020, a 37 percent decrease from the $70,000 budgeted for 2019.

On top of the 25 percent increase proposed by Waste Management, another consideration for the city is that there is no way to determine how many actual households are recycling.

Manney said the city would be billed for 1,080 households regardless, if it were to renew the contract with Waste Management.

Utility customers in Chisholm will also see a reduction as the amount they will be charged for recycling will be $2.16 a month this year. That’s down from the 2019 rate of $3.45 per month.

Manney said the improvements being proposed at the Balkan Canister site are a one-time expense, so the cost for the city and the ratepayers is expected to decrease even further for 2021.

Balkan Township Supervisor Pete Clevenstine said recently that the proposal from Chisholm to expand the canister site was recently discussed by the town board at its regular meeting, and was also among the items discussed at a town forum.

“We believe this partnership will save money for both Chisholm and Balkan, and we appreciate the city’s interest,” Clevenstine said.

The township currently spends about $22,000 annually to operate the canister site. That includes $17,000 for wages and benefits, $5,000 for electricity and phone, Clevenstine said. Balkan is responsible for securing the canister site and keeping it taffed and plowed out.

Meanwhile, St. Louis County provides all the canisters for solid waste and recycling, and also provides for the dumping, haulage, disposal, and or marketing of material to be recycled, Clevenstine added.

There currently is no residency check at the canister site, so anyone can deposit recycling there.

The city is hoping that neighbors, family and friends will band together to help out the elderly and others without the means to haul their recyclables to Balkan. Manney said that’s been the case in Hibbing since that community did away with curbside recycling about seven years ago.

Chisholm encourages its residents to recycle and it’s also a way for the city and citizens to save money on garbage disposal. The city’s current garbage collection system and a new one it is planning to introduce in 2021 both are designed to charge by volume, thus there’s a saving when one recycles.

More information on the Balkan Canister site is available on the township website at:www.balkantownship.com.

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Recyclables accepted at the Balkan canister site at the Balkan Township Garage on Highway 73 north of Chisholm include: glass, paper, plastic (must be number 1 or number 2), tin, cardboard, scrap metal, appliances, tires, oil and oil filters.

Mattresses and box springs are also accepted with eight punches on a St. Louis County solid waste coupon. Cell phones, household batteries, power tool batteries and fluorescent light bulbs are also accepted.

St. Louis County solid waste coupons are available at Do It Best Hardware (inside Casey Drug), Jubilee Foods and Keyboard Liquor.

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