A Brookings Model For Future Of Yankton Recycling?

Could Brookings provide a model for Yankton to follow as it formulates a plan for recycling in the future?

At its last meeting, the Yankton City Commission was presented with the findings of phase one of an HDR, Inc., solid waste strategic planning study for the Joint Vermillion/Yankton Solid Waste System.

While the study is looking at the entire operations of the Joint Powers, much of the focus of commission discussion was the part about recycling.

Here is a short excerpt from the story I wrote:

Yankton and Vermillion currently use a curbside recycling method wherein residents are asked to sort materials before they are put out for collection. Another possibility is single-stream recycling, where residents put everything in one container and it is later sorted at the collection center.
“You get more participation that way because it is easier for the citizen,” Evans said. “But it takes more processing to sort that material.”
Following the presentation, Commissioner Jake Hoffner spoke strongly in favor of implementing a single-stream system.
“I really think that the single-source recycling is imperative,” he said. “I think we’re behind a little.”
Constituents have told him that is the direction they would like to go, Hoffner stated.
“I don’t know the costs,” he said. “I wish I did know exactly what that was, but I would encourage us to work together with the community and see what that cost would be because it would take pressure off the landfill.”
Tom Nelson and Julie Perakslis of Keep Yankton Beautiful also told the commission that single-stream recycling is needed.
“When we go out and do presentations for the public and talk to members, there is a hunger for a stronger recycling program in this community,” Perakslis said. “People want to be able to recycle glass. They are confused about the difference between cardboard and pressboard. They’re not sure what the program takes. They want the program to be easier. They don’t want to have to separate things into a bunch of containers. They don’t have the time for it.
“I honestly think if we went with a single stream program, we would get a lot more participation,” she added. “People want it.”

In the case of Brookings, the city went to single-stream recycling in 2008. The sorting of the material occurs at the city’s recycling center. According to the study of the Vermillion/Yankton Joint Powers, the entity would have to expand its facilities to house such an operation.

On Friday, the Brookings City Council took things a step further to make the recycling process more stream-lined, according to the Brookings Register:

In the not-too-distant future, community residents should be doing a lot more recycling, says Todd Langland, Brookings’ director of solid waste management, as the city begins automated, curbside pickup of recyclable materials.

The city’s plan is to give each residence a rolling recyclables container – just like the current household waste carts – that can be lifted and emptied mechanically by the city’s long-arm garbage trucks.

The council Tuesday authorized Langland to set the program in motion. His first step will be to submit a grant application to the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for assistance with the purchase of containers.

Langland told the council the cost for 3,200 new containers will be approximately $225,000. A DENR grant would pay for half the cost of the containers.

The city sanitation team also would like to add another truck equipped with a container pickup arm. That would run another $225,000 to $250,000. Even with added costs, Langland and his planners say the automated recycling program will save the city money and at the same time increase recycling efforts by residents.

Under the expanded program, recycling will still be voluntary, Langland said, but the process will be much easier with containers and automated pickup.

Brookings no doubt has a different situation than the local Joint Powers as far as its facilities/finances, but as local officials consider the future of recycling here, they may do well to look at the success of a sister city of similar size.

The more we can recycle, the better.


4 thoughts on “A Brookings Model For Future Of Yankton Recycling?

  1. Yankton should follow the Brookings mold in all things. The town flat out gets it. Period.

    People here will whine and say “they have the interstate though”. Just because you have an interstate going by doesn’t mean you will be a success. The state is littered with towns on interstates that fail. Mitchell was a HUGE failure prior to fighting for and getting Cabellas and having the guts to expand around it.

    The other excuse I have heard is “They have a state college”. So does Vermillion and it’s a dive town. People make the town what it is through investment, courage and a solid plan. Yankton is a destination spot and few in this town are doing anything to take advantage of that.

    Sorry…I’ll get off my soapbox now. Yankton and Brookings in the same article tends to set me off.


  2. OH yeah…one other thing. Brookings business owners tend to invest in their community rather than fight it over a pittance of tax increases.

    Seriously…I promise I’m done this time.

    • I haven’t been to Brookings for years, but whenever I read about it, they do seem very aggressive at being progressive. Many people who know the city better than I do say its leaders are doing things right.
      It is all about the people, Shane. They make the community.

  3. I couldnt agree more I lived in Brookings for 10 years and they get it! Also I try to recycle plastic and have it in a separte bin and I catch the garbage guys dumping it in the regular trash all the time! Really irritates me and makes me want to stop recycling. I would recycle way more if they did it like brookings, I think Sioux Falls does the single bin also.

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