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Bearly Used is one of the Developmental Achevement Center's successful recycling-retail enterprises. (Sarah Smith / Enterpise)

County renews recycling contract with DAC as prices, volumes decline

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news Park Rapids, 56470
Park Rapids Minnesota PO Box 111 56470

Recycling, like other sectors of the economy, is experiencing a downtrend.

That was apparent when Hubbard County and the Developmental Achievement Center negotiated its 2010 contract, the fourth of a five-year agreement, for goods the two entities collect for recycling.

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The costs will remain stable, since the market has gone south, the two agreed.

The county pays $93.84 per ton for DAC employees to recycle a ton of materials; 50 cents per pound for electronics.

DAC director Ed Ranson presented a three-year picture showing the 19 percent decline in the market for recycled goods. In 2007, DAC recycled 2,748 tons of materials; 2,611 tons in 2008 and 2,214 so far in 2009.

Prices for materials have declined while wages have gone up slightly.

But solid waste director Vern Massie said the market may be on a slow upward trend.

"Prices are going up again for materials," he said.

"We've added quite a few clients," Ranson said. "We're up to 100 now." Many work at the south side transfer station in Park Rapids and more at the DAC's two thrift stores, Bearly Used and The Tin Ceiling, both on Main Avenue.

Ranson reported the agency has purchased the old Teamworks building in Park Rapids.

"It was a price we couldn't pass up," he said.

The new building will house a construction materials recycling operation that "should take the pressure off the demolition landfills," Ranson reported to the Hubbard County Board of Commissioners Wednesday. "We'll be up and running by spring," he promised.

The non-profit entity that works with mentally and physically challenged persons subsists on public donations of cash and goods to be recycled. The new center will take "the overflow from the other places," Ranson said.

He said the public has already begun donating items such as doors, windows and household cabinets that will be stored through the winter.

Other big-ticket items, like cars, have been donated and sold in the past, Ranson said.

"With Bearly Used, our gross goes up 10 percent a year, especially in a recession," Ranson told the county board. "The Tin Ceiling is doing well. We've had a good response."

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