County seeks single-sort bids; Decision could be made by late June or July

Published 10:20 am Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Mower County is officially seeking bids for a proposed change from sorted to single-sort recycling.

However, that doesn’t mean the board is ready to green-light the change.

The county board unanimously approved a set of bid specifications and opened the bidding process for waste haulers to apply for the potential contract to pick up Mower’s recycling. Bids will be due by 1 p.m. on June 18. The board will likely discuss the bids at its June 23 meeting but could leave more time for discussion. The board will have 30 days to award the work to a bidder, should it vote to move forward.

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Recycling is currently handled by the county, which requires plastics, glass and aluminum cans, and paper to be separated. If the county switches to single-sort, all residential properties would enter the program and pay a yearly fee for recycling, which would be picked up and disposed of every other week by a contractor.

Businesses — including apartments, senior home facilities, churches and government offices — wouldn’t be included automatically like residential properties, but the contract calls for the garbage hauler to offer recycling services to such properties for a reasonable fee.

The contract would limit annual cost increases.

Once the bids are in, the board will need to discuss the anticipated cost increases. While most community feedback has mostly favored switching to single-sort recycling, County Coordinator Craig Oscarson said the board may wait to see if that feedback changes once the bids outline cost increase.

Currently, all residential properties pay $16 to $18 a year for curbside recycling as part of county property taxes, whether they recycle or not. The single-sort fee would also come off property taxes, but county officials say it will cost more. They’ve estimated it could cost $4.25 to $5 a month — $51 to $60 a year.

If approved, the county wouldn’t switch to single-sort until April 1, 2016, as the county has a contract with Cedar Valley Services to pick up recycling through March 31, 2016.

Mower’s current curbside recycling

Newspaper bin: Newsprint, magazines, white office paper, cardboard

Cans & glass bin: Glass jars/bottles, aluminum, tin cans

Plastics bin: Type 1 and 2 plastics

For more on the current recycling, visit

Possible single sort recycling

One bin: newsprint, magazines, white office paper, glass jars/bottles, aluminum, tin cans, Type 1-7 plastics

(Mower County may collect cardboard separately)