Program continues to expand across OTC area
The Film Plastic Recycling Program that serves Otter Tail, Todd and Wadena Counties is ready to bring more collection sites on board.
The program collects film plastic material from farms and boat storage facilities and delivers it to a regional collection hub in Sauk Centre, Minn. The collected film plastic is used by Revolution Bag, located in Arkansas, to make commercial trash bags with up to 94 percent post-consumer content.
Agricultural plastic, boat wrap, and other film plastics are a problem material due to the bulky nature of the waste, and the lack of convenient disposal options. Prior to the program that started in 2016, most agricultural film plastic was either put in the landfill or illegally burned on site, with no practical option for recycling.
Otter Tail County received a grant last year to expand existing film plastic recycling efforts into a regional program with consistent monthly collection. Grant funds were used to purchase a truck dedicated to the program, and monthly collection has been ongoing since June of 2021.
Currently, Otter Tail County manages the program and collects over 200 tons of film plastic annually from farms and boat storage facilities for recycling. With 50 additional containers available for collection sites in February, the amount collected is expected to increase to over 280 tons annually.
Sites such as farms or marinas that generate a large amount of film plastic material may qualify for an on-site container that will be serviced regularly. Smaller sites with film plastic waste or individuals may drop off the material for recycling at any Otter Tail, Todd, or Wadena County Transfer Station at no charge.
Material accepted in the program includes silage plastic, bale wrap, and bunker cover (No skrim or net wrap), and boat wrap (cords cut off). Drip tape and greenhouse plastic are also accepted in the program.
“We are thrilled that Otter Tail County was able to receive this grant and keep the film plastic recycling program going,” said Assistant Director Zach Fjestad. “Additionally, we will add 50 more canisters to the program and with the ability to bring film plastic to the transfer stations, everyone should have access to recycle this material.”
Generators of film plastic are overwhelmingly supportive of this recycling program as it takes care of a long-standing problem with disposal of this material.
“Great program, no more unsightly piles of plastic around the feed site or stray pieces across the fields” said Brad Johnson, farmer in Orwell Township in southwest Otter Tail County. “We just wish it would have existed 10 years ago!”
For more information about the Film Plastic Recycling Program visit www.ottertailcountymn.us/film-plastic-collection/. Those who are interested in participating in this program, contact Zach Fjestad, Assistant Director for the Otter Tail County Solid Waste Department at (218) 998-8950.